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Copyright © 2018
Forkmedia LLC


by Fred McMillin
for September 27, 2000




"Over the last ten years Flora Springs has established a fine record for its rich elegant wines. This is an often underrated property."

...Stephen Brook, The Wines of California, 1999

The Rest of the Story

Let's pick out an underrated Flora Springs red wine, their Merlot. The critics say:

  • "Classy," Robert Joseph's 1999 Good Wine Guide
  • "Wins critical praise," Charles Sullivan's California Wine Companion
  • "One of the 'biggies' as Merlots cherry flavor with some plum notes. Rating: NINETY TWO," Jerry Mead's Mead on Wine
Flora Springs

At the Fort Mason campus of S.F. City College, my class tasted the latest vintage, the 1998. They liked it a it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. In fact, it's the best Merlot under $21 I've poured this year, so it's our:

Wine of the Day

1998 Flora Springs Merlot, Napa Valley, $20
Founding—Retiring Bechtel Engineering Corp. President Jerome Komes, and his wife, Flora, bought the old Louis M. Martini winery and moved to the Napa Valley. But you can't keep a good executive down. Soon, their grown children had joined them. They became one of the largest landowners in the Napa Valley (about 450 acres including over 80 Merlot) and turned out their first vintage in 1978.

Winemaker—Ken Dies is not underrated by his peers. He's now about to turn out his 23rd Flora Springs vintage. He selects the best grapes from the seven Napa Valley properties, and the remainder are sold. He says he deliberately makes the Merlot ready to drink when released by softening the tannins with extra skin contact, etc. He also has found that when you remove particles by fining and filtration, you also remove some of that immediate it's pretty much into the bottles particles and all.
Contact—Julie Garvey, (707) 963-5711, FAX (707) 963-7518


Flora Springs Winery almost had to have another name, because there almost was no Flora. That is, 17-year-old Flora had left home in Hawaii to take nurses training in San Francisco, and her top priority was to have a career, not a husband.
Jerome: "We had the longest courtship in history, but I finally convinced her."


About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at either San Francisco State University or San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.


This page created September 2000