Don was a serious collector (and consumer) of fine wines for over thirty years. In January of 2003 we bought a small knoll 3.5 miles north of Saint Helena in the heart of the Napa Valley. Included in this two acre parcel was a rocky .75 acre Cabernet vineyard planted in 1996, a very modest vineyard cottage (originally a stone barn built in 1921), a guesthouse and a winery. After an internal remodel of the cottage, many gallons of paint and extensive landscaping, the knoll became our home.
Many years ago we read the book Shibumi, which became one of our favorites: adventure, intrigue, romance, the book has it all. The book introduced us to the concept of Shibumi, a Japanese word describing a physical and emotional state which most nearly translates to “the pursuit of perfection though simplicity” or “Effortless Perfection”. Life on our little knoll in a simple cottage surrounded by vineyards, canopied by majestic oaks and blessed with bucolic 360-degree views, is truly one of perfection through simplicity. Hence when we decided to make wine under our own label, “Shibumi Knoll Vineyards” seemed perfect.
We feel blessed to live in the beautiful Napa Valley and thank you for loving our wines.
Don Ross, a NASA aerospace engineer known for his generosity & enthusiasm, found wine success at age 62 when he purchased a small knoll in Napa Valley that included three-quarters of an acre of Cabernet Sauvignon vines. Wine Spectator writes, “In an unlikely twist of fate, Ross gave a bottle of the first vintage to his golf pro at the Napa Valley Country Club. The pro later passed it to another client— Wine Spectator senior editor James Laube. Inserted into a blind tasting, the wine garnered 92 points.
A wine collector living in the San Francisco Bay area, Ross often drove to Napa to visit wineries. In 2003, Ross and his wife, Joann, moved to a 2-acre property on a small knoll several miles north of St. Helena. The land included a few rows of Cabernet Sauvignon that were once part of Vineyard 29's Aida vineyard. Ross named his label after Shibumi, a Japanese concept for ‘effortless perfection’. He tapped David Abreu as vineyard manager and Thomas Rivers Brown as winemaker.
Although a fan of Chardonnay, Ross initially had no intention of working with the grape. But when he tasted a bottle of Keegan Cellars from the Buena Tierra Vineyard in the Russian River Valley, he leapt at the chance to buy grapes from the old-vine vineyard. His inaugural release, the Shibumi Knoll Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2005, earned 97 points on Wine Spectator's 100-point scale.”
Don lost his battle to cancer in April 2016, but his passion and the Shibumi concept – the pursuit of perfection through simplicity – live on.