In Dogged Pursuit of Perfect Wines

Located on prime Napa Valley real estate, where the Oakville AVA borders Yountville, the Hoopes Vineyard is a family business with a twist: it’s a father-daughter operation – in which (daughter) Lindsay Hoopes has full control of managing the business. Her father, Spencer Hoopes, came to farming and winegrowing by following his passion for collecting great wines. In 1983, he planted a ten-acre vineyard in the Oakville AVA and was soon supplying premium fruit to several esteemed wineries. 15 years later, he started his own label in order to make the aromatic wines with balance and structure that he loved most. A sweetspot for Cabernet Sauvignon, the Oakville AVA features well-drained sandy and gravelly soils as well as a slightly warmer climate that allows this late-ripening variety to develop rich and complex flavors. Think “Napa Cab” and you are probably thinking “Oakville” - as it is home to many of the Valley’s most iconic wines. Hence, it’s not surprising that Hoopes Vineyard focuses on Cabernet. But, as a small enterprise comprising estate vineyards as well as a winery, Hoopes Vineyard represents the pure relationship between grape grower and winemaker in a way that few do in the Napa Valley anymore. Under the flagship Hoopes label, the winery produces Cabernet from its estate vineyard in Oakville as well as from select vineyards in other parts of the Valley. 

These wines, produced through meticulous farming and a minimalist approach to winemaking, are deep and complex and will reward years of cellaring. This label also includes Sauvignon Blanc from Coombsville as well as Chardonnay from Carneros. The winery also launched Hoopla, originally as a way to utilize the barrels that didn’t make it into the top blends but now as a label that emphasizes the fun and joie de vivre of a life in - or with - wine. The dog on the label is Dante, Spencer’s faithful and energetic terrier (now deceased), whose boundless energy might symbolize how we should approach wine in our lives - with a sense of play and fun rather than formality and seriousness.

Wine Maker

Anne Vawter





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Wines from this Winery

2017 Hoopla Napa Valley Rose Wine

A bottle of Hoopla Rosé solves that summertime dilemma when it’s too hot for red wine but a white would match neither the food nor the mood. With a darker color than the rosés of Southern France or Spain, Hoopla Rosé is blended from a spectrum of black grapes: 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 6% Zinfandel, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petite Sirah, 2% Syrah. The dark color derives from the winemaking process of bleeding red wine tanks (aka “saignée) soon after the start of maceration in order to add concentration to those wines. The bled off pink juice is then fermented separately in stainless steel tanks and becomes a lovely rosé that can be served well-chilled with a range of fish or lightly grilled meats. 

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¥3,740 (incl. tax)
2019 Hoopla Yountville Napa Valley Chardonnay

Chasing her dogs one morning, Lindsay stumbled across a lovely Chardonnay vineyard across the borderline in Yountville. A short conversation and a handshake with the owner was all it took to procure a new source of excellent Chardonnay fruit. Fermented entirely in stainless steel, the wine offers vibrant notes of fresh pineapple and pear and a mouthfeel that’s round and creamy. A generous Chardonnay that’s bright and pure and without oaky notes of butter and vanilla, Hoopla Yountville Chardonnay is a lovely wine with an affordable price. Pairing suggestions include roast chicken with mashed potatoes, fish tacos, Chinese chicken salad or Brie cheese. 

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¥3,740 (incl. tax)
2018 Hoopla Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

The winery dedicates this wine to Dante, the vineyard dog in charge enough to be called the “original boss.” Despite the playfulness of the label, this is a serious and seductive Bordeaux-style wine. Worth noting is that in 2018, the blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot was sourced entirely from the Napa Valley. The wine seduces with layers of dark fruit flavors but remains balanced with acidity and well-integrated oak. This is a Napa Cabernet that’s both food-friendly and affordable, needing no special occasion to open and enjoy with friends or family.  

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¥4,290 (incl. tax)
2018 Hoopla

What they lack in pedigree, mutts often make up for in personality, character and entertainment value. And that’s how the folks at Hoopla see this wine. Though blended from the “seconds” that didn’t fit into the winery’s premium wines, The Mutt has the aromas, body and length one expects from a Napa Valley wine - but without the high-premium price. Featuring more Merlot than Cabernet, this is a fun and fruit-driven wine that offers intense aromas and a juicy palate of ripe cherries and plums. The wine will pair well with anything grilled at a summertime barbecue. But if juicy steaks or hefty pork chops are your thing, you won’t be disappointed. 

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¥4,950 (incl. tax)
2014 Hoopes Howell Mountain Maya's Merlot

When it comes to Merlot, location is everything. To avoid Merlot that’s soft, over-ripe and jammy, it should be planted in vineyards that are cool but not too cold – such as in St Emilion or Pomerol, where Merlot-dominant wines are savory with great finesse and elegance. Maya’s Merlot is from a vineyard on Howell Mountain, where summer days are sunny but windy and significantly cooler than the valley floor. Planted in well-drained, volcanic soils, the vines produce grapes with small berries, giving the wines more tannin, as well as earthy flavors and subtle fruit. The 2014 Maya’s Merlot is rich, dark and complex - with leather, black pepper and meaty notes to compliment the lush flavors of black cherry and chocolate. Drink now or wait five or ten years. 

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¥9,570 (incl. tax)
2016 Hoopes Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Hoopes Napa Valley is a blend of 88% Cabernet and 12% Merlot sourced from the family’s estate in Oakville as well as vineyards in St. Helena, Oak Knoll, southern Napa and Coombsville – in other words, a classic Napa Valley made in the spirit of a great left bank Bordeaux. The winemaker’s own tasting notes describe wine as having a “fruit-forward nose filled with plummy sweet tarts, cherry compote, cocoa nibs, hard candy, cedar box, and allspice. The entry is fresh and clean with a core of delicious generous fruit. It has a lovely elegant texture, weighty middle and resolves into a mocha filled finish.” While this wine has been made to be enjoyed on release, it has acidity and tannin structure to improve with age. Pair with cuts of beef or pork – braised, stewed or grilled. 

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¥9,570 (incl. tax)
2014 Hoopes Oakville Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

The Hoopes estate vineyards stand are neighbors to such Napa Valley icons as Opus 1, Robert Mondavi, and Harlan Estate. Indeed, before the family started their label, their grapes were eagerly sought after by the famous estates. In addition to having a microclimate that’s not exactly cool or warm, the estate is blessed a variety of soils, including volcanic, which is rare on the floor of the Napa Valley. The winemaker, Anne Vawter, who had worked under Heidi Peterson Barrett for four years at the Paradigm Winery, sees Oakville as Napa’s most exciting sub-appellation, her “solar plexus.” James Suckling noted the “hand-crafted” approach and said the wine “shows the brightness and energy of the 2014 vintage with blackberry, hints of rose petal and black tea character [and] full body, polished tannins and a focused finish.”

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¥13,200 (incl. tax)