A VINEYARD TAKES ROOT
Nancy Johnston’s roots run deep in Napa Valley, after all she was born and raised in this small community. When she was 12 years old, she stood behind her family’s modest house on Soda Canyon Road and looked down at her grandfather’s expansive field below the hillside. She asked her father, Richard, why they couldn’t grow grapes, like friends did just a little further south on Silverado Trail.
“Are you crazy?” her father growled. “The only thing that your grandpa’s field is good for is growing rocks.” But, for once, Nancy’s dad was wrong. The rocky soil that “Old Dick” dismissed as good for nothing in fact provided ideal growing conditions for a vineyard.
The property now known as Soda Creek Vineyards (SCV) has been owned by the same family for more than 75 years. Back then, the surrounding fields were full of fruit trees, not grapevines. The property has been in the Johnston family since 1943. It was once a turkey farm owned by Ruth Johnston and her husband, Art.
In 2005, Nancy Johnston, now Nancy Apallas, got her wish to grow grapes on the property. With the help of her husband, Yeoryios, their three children, and a vineyard manager, Nancy led the efforts to turn the property, once owned by both her grandfather and father, into a vineyard. Soda Creek Vineyards' first harvest was in 2007. The grapes, which also included Sauvignon Blanc at the time, were sold under exclusive contract to Duckhorn Wine Company for several years.
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