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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The story behind one of Napa Valley’s illuminating wine brands

Accendo in Latin means to illuminate, to inspire, to arouse.

Accendo in Latin means to illuminate, to inspire, to arouse. You don’t have to be a wine connoisseur to know that Accendo Cellars makes a wine that is associated with two generations of the Araujo family, working together, to honor the winemaking and family heritage of Napa Valley.

While searching for the perfect name for their winery, the Araujo’s thumbed through a Latin dictionary and were attracted to the word Accendo. It had multiple meanings, all expressive words that could be used to describe premium wines: Illuminate, inspire and arouse.

To those who taste their multitude of cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc and laurea red wines, each is described as an “uncompromising blend” and is composed by the Araujo family and their all-star winemaking team.

For Bart and Daphne Araujo, their journey began in 1990 when they became proprietors of the historic Eisele Vineyard in Calistoga and launched Araujo Estate Wines. They learned how to grow grapes and farm organically and biodynamically – relying on their previous business and landscaped design experience.

In 2013, the Araujo’s sold their label to François Pinault’s Artemis Group and embarked on a new venture with the next Araujo generation. With their children, Jaime and Greg the Araujo’s founded Accendo Cellars.

Jaime was no stranger to the winemaking business. She brought a wealth of experience in marketing fine wine to the company. She founded Terravina, an international marketing, communications and strategic solutions company for the wine industry based in Paris. Additionally, she spent three years working in marketing for the wine and spirits division of LVMH.

Greg, on the other hand, took a different path. The family’s entry into Napa winemaking inspired his interest in food and gastronomy. In 1995, he became the first American to study at the prestigious Luis Irizar cooking school in San Sebastian, Spain.

“I find winemaking truly fascinating because, at its highest level, it requires a combination of technical and scientific expertise plus a level of artistic interpretation and instinct. It is humbling that, no matter how much you do, or how much you invest, you can only ever really control 50% of the variables that impact you,” Bart Araujo said.

The portfolio of Accendo Cellars includes Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, and soon a new Bordeaux-style blend called “Laurea” that was released in spring 2021. Made at Wheeler Farms’ state-of-the-art winemaking facility in Saint Helena, each wine is a carefully curated blend of grapes selected predominantly from vineyards in Oakville and Yountville.

“We allow ourselves to be educated by the land. When you pay attention, it becomes very obvious whether your vines are reacting well to your practices. We were lucky enough to meet like-minded people who helped us convert our vineyards to organic and then to biodynamic practices. It may not be an inherent part of our region’s history, but it is definitely part of our future,” Daphne Araujo said.

For years Napa Valley has nurtured and humbled the Araujo’s in ways that they could never have imagined. It is their hope that Accendo will shine a new light – to illuminate the magical place – they call home. While continuing to inspire and arouse the palates of wine tasters globally.

Accendo Cellars is a Comprehensively Certified and Napa Green Certified winery.

Napa Green is an organization that serves as a catalyst and facilitator to grow certified sustainable, responsible businesses committed to the environmental stewardship and climate action in Napa County. Their members stand as leaders exemplifying that sustainability and caring for nature elevates quality and experience for employees, customers and community, now and in the future.

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