A cool, refreshing Napa Valley red for LOLA’s Seth Cripe


At 34, Seth Cripe has spent more years around wine than you’d think.

The owner-winemaker of LOLA Wines, which he founded in 2008, moved to Napa Valley right after he dropped out of high school. He said that although he wouldn’t recommend that exact career path, he was so fortunate to work for Swanson and Caymus.

His stint at Caymus Vineyards lasted a dozen years, and in the end, he was running the vineyards there. When Caymus was developing its Belle Glos project, he, as the only available young and single person, was sent off to France for four or five months a year to learn what he could.

All that experience plays into the wines he makes at LOLA -- right now just 5,000 cases of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and dry Riesling. He farms most of the grapes, which come from western Sonoma Coast and the Russian River Valley, but still lives in Napa Valley.


Here’s what he’s drinking now:

“I’ve been liking a new Napa Valley wine called Carne Humana, named for the mid-1880s Mexican land grant that ran from Rutherford and St. Helena north to Calistoga and which has some of the oldest vines in Napa Valley.

“The 2010 is their first vintage. This wine is a blend of Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot and Zinfandel with a little Syrah and Charbono. It’s got those big and rich flavors of really extracted Napa Valley wine, but because it’s old vines, it has those bright, dark berry flavors along with a good acid structure.

“That, to me, is a rare quality in Napa Valley and California reds. It’s a cool, refreshing style of wine for the valley.”


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Twitter: @sirenevirbila