The Kirkham family established Casa Nuestra, which means “our house,” in 1979. It produces about 2,500 cases annually from the estate’s organic vineyards and Gene Kirkham, aka the “Happy Farmer”, continues to over see all operations now in its 28th year.
Casa Nuestra specializes in rare varietals and unique blends due to its extensive history as a vineyard such as “Tinto Classico”, Meritage, Charbono, Rosado (a dry rose), Verdelho, French Colombard and Symphony, also producing well-known varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah. All of their wines are award winning and very limited.
Casa Nuestra has a unique history as well as growing unique wine. It was one of the first hillside vineyards planted in the farmed Oakville region, predeceasing the now famous vineyards surrounding it: Martha’s Vineyard, Far Niente, and Screaming Eagle, which at the time were orchards and cow pastures. Planted in 1956, Casa Nuestra is a field mix vineyard, meaning that it is not a homogenous vineyard planted to a single variety of grapes. It is planted to a collection of grape varietals, some of which confound identification experts today.
In 1994, to keep the history of the previous vineyard alive, the Kirhams took cuttings from the original vines and t-budded them onto vines at the St. Helena vineyard until the original vineyard was successfully reproduced there. Casa Nuestra is committed to sustainable farming practices to keep the estate’s ecosystem in good health. Use of chemical herbicides and pesticides has been kept minimal and will soon be replaced completely by organic techniques such as composting, cover crops and even goats. The mother goat “Nubi” gave birth to two kids, Nava & Cross, who now help tend to the vineyard’s weeds by munching away.
The tasting room is located in a historic 1920’s farmhouse, complete with a sweet black dog and a fireplace to rest by. Rock & roll posters line the wall as well as awards and other memorabilia such as a letter from the White House. Music plays through out the tasting, a fun mix of jazz, rock & roll, and R & B. The staff is happy to help their guests and answer any technical questions about the winery or winemaking. Outside, there are lovely gardens to wander through as well as a patio to lounge and view the organic vineyards lining the hillside and the valley. Well-behaved dogs and children are always welcome and Casa Nuestra is open daily by appointment.