Mayacamus has a 124 year history. It has exchanged hands four times and is currently owned and operated by the same people who brought the world Screaming Eagle. The stone cottage and winery have stood since 1889 and the this has been the site for winemaking since. In 2013 Robert Travers finally sold the winery to retire. He had worked the land and made the wine for 45 years. He did it essentially alone as a one man show for decades. The wines show a rustic nature and a reflection of some of the oldest vineyards in Napa and certainly on the slopes of Mount Veeder. Robert never did buy into Robert Parker and the ratings hype. He made as natural a wine as he could and aimed to express the incredible vineyard sites he farmed.
Mayacamas Vineyards is nested in the Mayacamas Mountains that divide the Napa and Sonoma valleys. Near the summit of Mount Veeder, the old stone winery was dug into the side of a dormant volcano crater in the late 19th century. Fifty-two acres of vineyards are planted on mountainsides ranging from 1,800 to 2,400 feet above sea level. Obsidian arrowheads and stone grain-grinding bowls found on the property bear silent testimony to Mayacamas' first human inhabitants, the Native Americans of the Wappo tribe.
It is from the Wappo language that the name "Mayacamas" derives; believed to have meant "the howl of the mountain lion". But other possible meanings of the word exist: "the source of the water", referring to the springs and headwaters of creeks that feed the Napa and Sonoma Rivers, a "standing place" referring to a trail marker, or a human scout. Perhaps, in some way lost to present understanding, "Mayacamas" meant a combination of all of these ideas to the Wappo. But, as the language was never written, and its speakers are no longer with us, the original sense of the word Mayacamas remains shrouded in the past. What remains today is a homage to the first meaning, "the howl of the mountain lion," on the Mayacamas label, in the emblematic "M" which bears two lions dancing within.
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