Titus Vineyards: Crafting High-Quality Family Estate Wines in the Heart of Napa Valley

By Published On: December 7, 2022

Titus Vineyards, located in the heart of the Napa Valley, has been producing high-quality estate wines for over 20 years. Founded by the Titus family, they started out growing and selling grapes, but in the late 1990s, the family decided to focus on making their own wines.

They replanted their vineyards with modern rootstocks and clones, gradually phasing out outside contracts and building their production facility  to support around 15,000 cases per year.  This allowed them to focus on retail sales and maintain healthy margins in a competitive marketplace.

The Titus family property has a long, rich history of farming in the Napa Valley dating back to 1841 and has been continuously used for agriculture for over 150 years with the Titus family’s first harvest occurring in 1969. The majority of the vineyards were replanted in the 1970s and 1980s. The vineyards are located on two distinct sites, one near the Napa River with deep, sandy gravelly soil and the other on the west side of the valley with volcanic soil.  

Photo: Eric Titus and Stephen Cruzan Credit: Titus Vineyards

 Brothers Eric and Phillip Titus oversee the winery operation today. Eric manages the vineyards while Phillip the winemaking, but due to time constraints, the winemaking reins were passed to Stephen Cruzan who the brothers brought on board. He works closely with the Titus family to craft wines that reflect the family’s vision and style. Titus Vineyards’ Cabernet Sauvignon wines are representative of the Saint Helena appellation, which are distinguished by being fruit-forward, sizeable, with soft round tannins– perfect for aging.

Titus Vineyards also has a diverse portfolio of other varieties. One such wine is their Petit Verdot, made from the Entav Clone 400, which provides a more modern flavor profile with berry fruit and softer tannins.  “We use it as a structural blending component. There are tobacco notes, developed fruit– we can make a standalone varietal wine and blend it with a little bit of Cabernet [Sauvignon],” said Eric.

The Titus family is also looking at expanding their white wine offerings further as historically they have primarily made only a Sauvignon Blanc. They have started working with Viognier, which is a balance of crisp acidity and floral, fleshy fruit notes. It may appeal to the Chardonnay drinkers who are looking for something with more structure, character and uniqueness.

The Napa Valley wine community has gone through significant changes over the past 30 years. The economic boom of the 1990s led to an increased demand for Napa wines, which resulted in a shift in the way they were made and marketed. In response to phylloxera infestations, vineyards were replanted with healthier grapes that were better suited to producing specific styles and personalities. As Napa wines became more widely distributed and sought after, the media played a significant role in shaping their perception. This led to the emergence of “cult wines” and a culture in which Napa wines were highly coveted.

However, as the Napa Valley transformed from a rural agricultural community to a tony destination, its agricultural identity became less prominent. Today, vintners must work to maintain a dialogue with the media and continue to get the word out about their wines in order to remain competitive in the marketplace. The Titus team is made up of a dedicated group of individuals who are passionate about creating a great tasting experience for their visitors. They focus on building relationships with their guests and fostering a sense of belonging. This–combined with word-of-mouth recommendations–has helped to propel their business forward.

Credit: Titus Vineyards

As a family-owned and operated winery, authenticity is at the core of everything the Titus Family does. Many of the locals have been coming to the winery for decades, since they were grade school kids. They have watched the family nurture the land and put agriculture and conservation at the forefront of their business. Titus Vineyards offers a unique and memorable experience for visitors. “Our guests– they can see how this all ties together, looking out at the estate vineyards, around the winery, relaxing in a comfortable setting.” said Eric. 

Disclosure: The wines featured in the Wine Recommendations section were provided by the winery for the purpose of review. The selection and tasting of these wines were independently conducted. No compensation or incentives was provided from wineries or importers for inclusion in the story. As always, the top priority is to provide readers with informative and unbiased reporting.

Wine Recommendations

2019 Family Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon- aromas of stone fruit on and flavors of blueberry, blackberry, and cocoa bean. It has a nice velvety texture with good structure and  density. Enjoy it now or cellar or it for 5-10 plus years.

2019 Cabernet Sauvignon- dark ruby red with a touch of purple in color. Flavors of blackberry, blueberry, plum and a hint of coffee. This wine has silky smooth tannins and a long finish.

2018 Red Wine Lot 1- Flavors of plum, raspberry and mocha. The red  blend is a composition of 45% Petite Sirah, 28% Malbec, 22% Petit Verdot and 5% Zinfandel.

About the Author: Joe Campbell

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Located out of the Sierra Foothills of California, Joe Campbell provides color commentary as well as insight within the wine industry both from the lifestyle consumer and business segments of the industry. He can be reached via email at : joe@winebulletin.net .