2007 Scarecrow, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, Case of 3 Btls RP100/JD100
2004 Scarecrow, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, Bottle (750ml) RP99
2003 Scarecrow, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, Bottle (750ml) RP98

Scarecrow – The Enchanting Tale Behind the Legendary Wine

Within the midst of the magnificent Rutherford AVA in Napa Valley, California, lies the prestigious Scarecrow Winery. With an enchanting history that intertwines Hollywood allure, a humble family legacy, and a commitment to crafting exceptional wines, Scarecrow has earned its reputation as a leading producer in the world of cult wines.

Where It All Began

The roots of Scarecrow Winery delve deep into the historic J.J. Cohn Estate, where the legendary Gustave Niebaum once tended vines that blanketed over 1,000 acres of Napa Valley in the late 19th century. The story takes a significant turn when John Daniel Jr. of Inglenook persuaded his neighbor, J.J. Cohn, to plant 80 acres of Cabernet vines in 1945. Little did they know, this decision would shape the legacy of Scarecrow.

J.J. Cohn's fruit became a cornerstone of Inglenook's post-war Cabernet Sauvignons and later contributed to renowned wines such as Opus One, Duckhorn, and Insignia. The decision to preserve the original 1945 St. George rootstock vines, while others opted for the vulnerable AxR1 hybrid, is what sets Scarecrow apart (the notorious AxR1 rootstock became the culprit behind Northern California’s widespread phylloxera devastation in the late 1980s and early 1990s). These vines continue to yield fruit of exceptional richness, defining the hallmark of Scarecrow wine.

“Nothing Is Impossible”- The Heart & Mind Behind The Estate

The Scarecrow story is not just about the land and the wine; it's a tribute to the remarkable life of Joseph Judson Cohn. Born in 1895 in Harlem to Russian immigrants, Cohn rose from poverty to become a chief of production at MGM during Hollywood's golden age. His unofficial doctrine, “Nothing is impossible,” became the motto of his MGM staff, who knew him as a man that refused to take “No” for an answer. Cohn played a pivotal role in iconic films like Ben Hur, Gigi and The Wizard of Oz.

The Scarecrow label pays homage to the indomitable character from The Wizard of Oz, evoking an American agricultural icon and embodying the spirit of American optimism. J.J. Cohn lived to be 100, leaving behind a legacy that the passionate individuals behind Scarecrow wines are proud to continue.

The Next Chapter

In 1996, J.J. Cohn passed away, and the property went up for sale. What started as a $4 million valuation soared to $33.6 million. In 2002, Francis Ford Coppola of Rubicon Estate Winery and J.J. Cohn's grandson, Bret Lopez, secured the property in a unique package deal. Coppola acquired most of the vineyard, while Lopez and his partner, Mimi DeBlasio, received the property buildings, 25 acres of vineyards, and two acres of the original 1945 Cabernet vines.

The Birth Of Scarecrow

These two acres would form the backbone of Scarecrow Winery, a name chosen by Lopez in honor of Cohn. Teaming up with acclaimed winemaker Celia Welch, Scarecrow released its inaugural vintage in 2003, marking the beginning of a remarkable journey into the echelons of Napa Valley's wine elite.

The Main Characters

Bret Lopez

Born in Los Angeles in 1948, Bret Lopez's journey into winemaking was inspired by the summers spent at his grandfather's J.J. Cohn Estate in Rutherford. A former professional photographer, Bret's career took him around the globe, working with renowned clients. However, his roots called him back to the J.J. Cohn Estate, where he returned to honor his family heritage through Scarecrow Winery.

Bret's dedication to capturing the essence of light, instilled by his father, mirrors his approach to winemaking. Today, he embraces the Scarecrow legacy, celebrating his history through exceptional wines and capturing moments with his camera in a studio set up on the estate.

Celia Welch

Celia Welch, the visionary winemaker behind Scarecrow, developed her passion for wine through her parents' avid wine collecting and at-home winemaking in Medford, Oregon. After earning her B.S. in Fermentation Science from the University of California at Davis, Celia traveled extensively, honing her winemaking skills in the United States, New Zealand, and Australia.

Her journey led her to Napa Valley, where she joined Silverado Vineyards, eventually becoming an independent winemaker. Celia's expertise earned her accolades, including the Rising Star Award from Women for Winesense and induction into the Winemaker's Hall of Fame.

The Star Of The Show - The Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon

RP100 on the 2013 "The prodigious 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, including fruit from some of the oldest Cabernet vines still in existence in Napa. This full-bodied classic displays notes of forest floor, earth, creme de cassis, blackberry liqueur, licorice and some pen ink. It is dense, full-bodied, prodigiously rich, massive in intensity, yet relatively light on its feet. This great ballerina of a wine has extraordinary ripeness but pulls back from the edge before going over the top. There are 1,000 cases of this classic, which should age effortlessly for 30+ years." RP Dec. 2015

JD100 on the 2018 "Pure perfection in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Scarecrow's 2018 reveals a dense purple hue as well as an incredible bouquet of pure creme de cassis, toasted spices, chocolate, darker currants, and graphite. This carries to a full-bodied, dense, off-the-charts sexy 2018 that has the vintage's purity and freshness backed up by flawless balance, a layered mouthfeel, and building yet elegant tannins." JD Jan. 2021

Scarecrow produces only two wines – the flagship Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon and its second wine, Monsieur Ètain (Mister Tinman). The Cabernet Sauvignon, crafted from estate vines on the Rutherford Bench, offers a Bordeaux-like elegance with rich flavors and a silky palate. M.Ètain, a lighter and fruitier counterpart, provides a delightful alternative with raspberry and fresh plum tones.

With a production of less than 800 cases and distribution primarily through a mailing list, Scarecrow wines are a rare and sought-after treasure.

Rutherford – Napa’s Oz of Terroir

Rutherford, a gem within Napa Valley's AVAs, boasts a privileged location between the Mayacamas and Vaca mountains. Known for its warm summer days, Rutherford allows Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to reach optimal maturity, resulting in deep, flavorful wines. The Rutherford Bench, an alluvial fan, contributes to the region's unique terroir, producing wines with a sought-after balance of flavor and acidity.

The terroir encompasses foothills characterized by gravelly benchland soils. This unique ground ensures an ideal balance between water retention and effective drainage, creating optimal conditions for viticulture.

The term "Rutherford dust" is synonymous with the AVA, describing a fine, dusty-like tannin structure that enhances the character of Cabernet Sauvignon and other red varietals. Scarecrow's commitment to preserving the heritage of the J.J. Cohn Estate is mirrored in the exceptional quality drawn from the vineyards of Rutherford.

Follow The Yellow Brick Road…

Scarecrow Winery tells the enchanting tale of family legacy and continues to be a beacon of excellence in the Napa Valley wine scene. From the enchanted grounds of the J.J. Cohn Estate to the meticulous winemaking of Celia Welch, every bottle of Scarecrow wine displays passion, tradition, and a commitment to crafting wines that stand the test of time. Dive into the magical world of Scarecrow and with each sip, follow the yellow brick road to an extraordinary vinous experience.

Written by: Arabella Maislinger

Recently viewed