Forks and Corks + SIP
Napa Valley’s Sill Family Vineyards
Published On: September 20, 2021

Divine Intervention

Igor Sill is a bohemian-natured vigneron. A former private equity investor, he has been growing grapes, crafting wine, and living atop his Atlas Peak property for the past decade. Yet, he continues to marvel at every phase prompted by the change of seasons. Bud break, fruit set, veraison, harvest – each cycle in the grape growing process continues to be cause for wonderment, prompting Sill to wax rhapsodic about his current vocation.

“Farming my Atlas Peak vineyard has broadened my mind and opened my heart,” said Sill, whose grapes grow on a 1,300-foot plateau revered for its volcanic soils and Bay breeze-cleansed air. The elevation provides more prolonged sun exposure, greater UV, and cooler nights, characteristics that create wines of profound complexity, depth, elegance, and character. “There is a privilege and tremendous responsibility in farming this remote, natural mountain setting. It has become a life-defining passion – to protect and regenerate the gifts of nature. I don’t own this land; it owns me, and I don’t say that lightly. I appreciate that we are only the most recent stewards in its long history.”

Atlas Peak has long been the origin of some of the Napa Valley’s finest wines. In addition to Sill Family Vineyards, it is home to Pahlmeyer, Stagecoach, Michael Mondavi and Antica. Others, such as Rombauer, Kongsgaard, Duckhorn, Shafer and Chappellet source from its vineyards.

“There’s a bit of divine intervention in this little pocket of heaven that creates magic,” said Sill. Sill Family Vineyards’ various awards evidence that magic. Robert Parker awarded 97 points to Sill’s Atlas Peak 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, and Wine Spectator rated it 98 points. Sill’s 2015 Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon received the coveted CWSA 2018 Wine of the Year Award, as well as the Double Gold Medal, and is served at top restaurants, including Napa Valley’s famed The French Laundry, where Chef Thomas Keller pairs classic French technique with wildly fresh ingredients and only the finest wines. The late Anthony Bourdain deemed The French Laundry “the best restaurant in the world, period.”

“It’s an honor that this iconic restaurant has selected to showcase our wines, each of which demonstrates specificity of place,” said Sill, whose stated ambition is simple: he strives to do every day what he passionately loves in shepherding from grape to bottle extraordinary wines that he has the honor of sharing with friends, old and new.

“The ancient Romans understood that vines grown on hillsides make far better wines, so it’s no wonder that the Roman poet Virgil wrote that the Wine God Bacchus ‘loves open hills,” said Sill. “Our off-the-beaten-path and rarely visited mountain vineyard may be one of the last natural frontiers of Napa’s wine-growing region, veiled in foggy wisps of mountain magic, with an untouched remoteness and stunning beauty that take your breath away.”


Story By: Fran Miller