Kelly Fleming, the owner of Kelly Fleming Wines, has always impressed me with her focus, her wine, her determination, and her story.
Back in 2019, I had the chance to meet Kelly and tell her story. The story of a woman who first visited Napa to build a getaway home with her former husband. Becoming a farmer and vintner was not part of her original plan. But she blasted rock, planted vineyards, built 13 underground water treatment tanks, worked on the roads, and drove the forklift to bring the winery to life. And she has a crew of rescue donkeys at the vineyard.
The land they purchased in 1998 contained 12 acres ideal for planting Cabernet Sauvignon, which were planted in 1999, and four more acres were planted 6 years later.
She hired Winemaker Celia Welch and produced the first vintage in 2002, which was released in 2005. When Welch left in 2013, she promoted Rebecca George, who was assistant winemaker. She liked Rebecca’s style and experience in making other varieties of wine that were not made yet at Kelly Fleming Wines.
When her marriage ended, Kelly focused on building the winery and designing the house on the property. The wines are elegant and delicious. The vineyards are certified CCOF organic. She has a small farm on the property with olive trees, fruit trees and bees.
This time I didn’t get to sit down with Kelly, but I had a chance to try two of the wines – a nod to old and new.
2011 Kelly Fleming Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – When I first tasted it in 2019, I picked up notes of red and black fruit, cassis, spice, almonds, and eucalyptus. It’s rich and elegant. Aged for four more years, it had reached this sumptuous balance of fruit, licorice, tobacco, and spice.
2019 Kelly Fleming Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – lots of fruit like cherry, raspberry, cassis, and black currant. I tasted mocha, licorice, and floral notes as well. Another beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon that will only get better with time.
What I like is that Kelly is all about balance between the vineyards and the land. And the winery is making some amazing, craft wines in the process.