Lynn Yates was a big supporter of Mike Yates taking over operations at the family vineyard in 1995, and now 25 years later her encouragement can be felt in every glass of Yates Family Vineyard wine! Enjoy!
How did you and Mike meet?
I met Mike in 1974 a few months after I had moved from Southern California to the bay area. It was about a month before he was starting Chico State to pursue his Ag degree. I was working and going to Junior College. I was in need of housing and fortunately his brother had an extra room for rent in a house close to Stanford. We were introduced a few times before I got an invite to join the Yates family on a Squaw Valley ski trip. We had fun skiing and making snow angels and there was an instant attraction. (Anyone who has hung out on the porch of the Big House with me knows this is a very abbreviated version.)
Before moving to Napa full time in 1999, you spent many times visiting the vineyard throughout the years, what was your favorite thing to do during your visits?
I think most people who visit the ranch for the 1st time realizes it has a huge WOW factor. After we were married and moved to Paradise it was always fun to invite friends to visit the Ranch. Usually it was in the fall. We’d arrive on Friday night, make apple juice Saturday morning using the basket press in the winery and freeze it for future use, then eat and drink until Sunday. It’s always fun cooking, jeeping and having the house full of friends and family.
You are one of the main reasons that Yates Family Vineyard makes a Cabernet Franc, what is it about that varietal that you love?
Mike was always making ‘R & D’ wines in the cellar. In 2002 he made a batch of Cab Franc. A couple years later, I was hanging by the pool with some girl friends when some said “do you have any white wine?” I said,”no, we don’t make any but I have this Cab Franc”. Well, the women loved it on a warm day by the pool and I knew it was a winner. The wine had a wonderful mouth feel, soft tannins and was delicious. I did have to convince our marketing team to produce it because there was some skepticism as to whether it would sell or not. LOL
If you could pick one season that is your favorite, what is it and why?
Summer!! Growing up, summer always kicked off with camping in Yosemite. After that, summer was filled with beach time, sailing, horseback riding and usually more camping trips. In Paradise summer was filled with softball games, rivers and lakes and my annual trek to visit my SoCal family for beach time. When we moved to Napa, summer was changed to “the Growing Season” and it was mostly about farming and gardening, but I always made time for the beach!
You are always creating something fun in the kitchen, what is your favorite food to make and share with the family?
I like cooking in general and really don’t have a favorite. The best meals are when everyone contributes a little something, we linger in the kitchen preparing and sharing, and then we all chow down.