(par' - a - dime) noun. An example that serves as a pattern or model. A pattern for perfection.
Paradigm Winery, located in the Oakville appellation of Napa Valley, produces hand-crafted, small batch, estate-bottled red wine sourced from their estate vineyard. Known for Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, though they also produce a tiny amount of Zinfandel and Cabernet Franc. Regardless of the varietal, their wines are a rich expression of the vineyard farmed now for twenty-nine years.
Paradigm Winery is owned and managed by Ren and Marilyn Harris, two winegrowers with extraordinarily deep roots in Napa Valley. Marilyn's grandparents emigrated from Italy to Napa Valley in 1890, while Ren's family came to California in 1769. Marilyn and Ren purchased Paradigm Vineyards in 1976, and began producing wine with the 1991 vintage. Since that first vintage, the wines have been made by renowned winemaker, Heidi Peterson Barrett. Heidi's father, Dick Peterson, was instrumental in designing the winery.
Paradigm Vineyard is located in the Oakville District of Napa Valley just west of Highway 29 and south of the Oakville Grade. When the property was purchased by Ren & Marilyn Harris in 1976, it was planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Chenin Blanc and White Riesling, all commonly grown in Napa Valley at the time. But the Harris' quickly confirmed that the vineyard's soil and microclimate were perfectly tuned for growing the red Bordeaux varietals that inspired their passion for wine.
The vineyard is now planted to 7 blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon totaling 37 acres, 3 blocks of Merlot totaling 12 acres, 4 acres of Cabernet Franc, 1 acre of Zinfandel and 1 acre of Petite Verdot. The vineyard is managed by Ren Harris and is assisted by Fernando Diaz who has worked for the Harris family for many years. Pedro Martinez assists Fernando as foreman. Vines are hand pruned and harvested. No herbicides are used. Mildew is prevented by using natural sulfur dust and other sustainable fungicides. Invasive insects are controlled by natural predators and all vine prunings are chipped, returning them back to the vineyard for nourishment.
Paradigm's annual production is 6000 cases. The rest of the fruit is sold to friends and neighbors in the valley. The Paradigm style has been very well established. The wines are consistent and age worthy. Approachable in their youth, Paradigm wines are full of red and black fruit. They are known for their balance and for their ability to compliment a meal. All of the wines are aged in French oak barrels for 20 months. Each of the wines also sees considerable additional bottle aging - 20 months for the Cabernet Sauvignon and 10-14 months for our other reds.
Heidi Peterson Barrett has been winemaker at Paradigm since its first vintage in 1991. A Napa Valley native and a graduate of U. C. Davis, Heidi is the winemaker for some of Napa Valley's most highly-regarded wineries. Heidi's philosophy in making wines for Paradigm is simple: she feels that she is working with an extraordinary vineyard site that has been farmed impeccably for years. She lets the fruit from this vineyard express its quality and unique terroir with minimal intervention. Heidi and her husband, Bo, have two daughters.
Into Wine: Heidi Peterson Barrett - Napa's Wine Diva on Winemaking, La Sirena, and the Legacy of Screaming Eagle