About

We make wine we love to drink — and share
Cabell Coursey

Vision

Hidden among the renowned mountain properties of Napa and Sonoma, planted to steep hillsides high above the valley floor, lesser-known vineyards quietly yield some of the world’s most exceptional fruit. Cool weather and rocky soils mimic the austere conditions of Bordeaux, rendering highly concentrated fruit with sublime characteristics found nowhere else.

We exist to discover and celebrate these unhailed vineyards by making wines in perfect reflection of place, expressly crafted to improve with age.

People

John Graves, Owner

John Graves began his career in computer technology, and after a decade spent working for others, he left to strike out on his own. Thirty years later he sold a successful B-to-B software business. John and his wife Denise used a portion of the proceeds to establish the Graves Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to provide disadvantaged youth in greater Minneapolis with access to the resources, opportunities, and caring relationships that will propel them to a successful life. Specifically, the foundation focuses on K-12 education reform and providing foster kids with support during the transition to adulthood.

John’s love for wine began as a hobby, influenced by a good friend and by Robert Parker’s reviews in the Wine Advocate. He loved learning about wine, hunting down interesting bottles and sharing them with friends. At length his interest expanded until the desire to learn became a desire to create. Around this time his winemaker friend Cabell Coursey began talking about starting a new label in a style they both loved to drink and share. They soon formed a partnership and the first vintage of Coursey Graves was bottled in 2015.  

John and Denise have been married since 1980 and divide their time between Excelsior, MN, Healdsburg, CA, and Naples, FL. They have three sons, 2 grandchildren and 2 more on the way. In addition to making wine, they continue through the Graves Foundation to even the playing field for Minneapolis’s disadvantaged youth.

 

Cabell Coursey, Owner Winemaker

Cabell’s love for winemaking began in Burgundy where he worked his first harvest during an undergraduate semester abroad. Post grad, he returned for additional vintages picking grapes, scrubbing tanks and barrels, and learning traditional winegrowing methods passed down through generations. His desire for knowledge took him next to harvest in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and later to Christchurch, New Zealand where he earned graduate degrees in Enology and Viticulture from Lincoln University. It was there he developed the passion for cool climate wines that guides his style today. Before starting Coursey Graves in 2017 with partner John Graves, Cabell made wine for Alder Springs Vineyard, Dumol, Flanagan, and Kosta Browne.

 

Coursey Graves Team

Standing, from left to right: John Graves - Owner/Proprietor, Cabell Coursey - Winemaker, Carlos Pulido - Vineyard Manager, Norberto Perez - Vineyard, Ben Larks - Vineyard, Jorge Rivera - Vineyard

Seated: Rebecca Riel - Marketing Manager, Matt Casalenuovo - Cellar Master, Christina Hall - Assistant Winemaker

 

Place

In our quest to reveal each vineyard’s distinctive personality, sustainable farming practices are our North Star.
Cabell Coursey

Winery

Above the clouds and off the beaten path, we’re located a thousand feet above sea level on Bennett Mountain in Sonoma. Part of the ancient, volcanic Mayacama Range that separates Napa and Sonoma, our winery, estate vineyard, and caves are built into the slope overlooking the breathtaking Bennett Valley.

 

Vineyards

 

Winery and Estate Vineyard

Our winery and estate vineyard are situated on Bennett Mountain overlooking Sonoma, on the western edge of the Mayacamas range. Eighteen acres are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Syrah. At 800 to 1500 feet above sea level, the high elevation keeps temperatures cool for low yields and beautifully expressive flavors.

 

Coombsville Vineyard

On the sloped edge of an ancient volcano, sixteen acres of Bordeaux varieties grow between the red and black igneous basalt and the white, ashy volcanic tuff. Wines from this site exhibit pure blueberry and cassis flavors, with elegant texture and soft, ripe tannins.

 

Howell Mountain Vineyard

At two thousand feet above sea level, Cabernet from this vineyard benefits from much cooler daytime temperatures and slower ripening. The result is often a lower alcohol wine with deep color, gorgeous minerality, and otherworldly flavor that continues to develop over decades in the bottle.

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