amici (ah-mee-chee) n. the Italian term for "friends"; close personal companions.
It began, fittingly, with a group of friends gathering from all over the country to crush a few tons of grapes at an old farmhouse in St. Helena for their own cellars. The year was 1991, a vintage that would prove to be a stellar one for the Napa Valley.
The group -- led by Jeff Hansen, a native Californian who left Los Angeles to pursue his dream of growing grapes and making fine wine in the Napa Valley -- would produce a Cabernet Sauvignon as affable and harmonious as their friendship. After 10 years of internships with Spring Mountain and Flora Springs wineries, Jeff secured two acres of prime vineyard in the heart of the famed Rutherford region on Bella Oaks Lane.
Amici's 1991 and 1993 Cabernets were produced under the supervision of Ken Deis, winemaker at Flora Springs. Only 250 cases of each vintage were produced. Distribution, like the growing and production of the wine, is limited to friends established through their mailing list and to a small number of retailers like Winetasting.com. Although production will always be small, they hope to produce enough fine wine for their amici.