This month, the Okapi Conservation Project is celebrating 30 years of tireless work to protect the endangered okapi and its habitat in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We named our wine Okapi because we were drawn to the story of the animal, and thought it a lovely symbol of our relationship. The word itself is somewhat abstract, since many people haven’t heard of okapis, and we liked that camouflage for our new brand. Part of the joy of wine is the discovery of something new, especially of something rare that has been around for a long time, undiscovered.

We transformed our Napa Valley jungle into a vineyard ten years ago. In those years, we learned first about farming, then winemaking, and most recently about presenting our finished wines to the world. We have also been privileged to learn about the amazing okapi, our namesake, and meet some of the people who have dedicated their lives to protecting the animals. We discovered how their work has the broader effect of helping to protect the land and forest from illegal exploitation, and the people from the chaos of warring factions vying for power in this troubled part of Africa.

Inspired by their perseverance, and touched by their generosity, we want to honor the people of the Okapi Conservation Project with a gift from everyone who loves Okapi wines. During the month of June, we will donate $30 for every bottle of Okapi Cabernet Sauvignon sold. We ask that buyers make their purchases on our website www.okapiwines.com so that we can easily track every bottle of red wine. Our pledge applies to each vintage available (2012 and 2013), and to everyone buying Cabernet Sauvignon, whether they pay full price or get the club members’ discount.

We’re donating $30 per bottle to celebrate 30 years of important work.

 

People often tell us that the Okapi Chardonnay surprises them by being more like a traditional Montrachet than a typical Napa Chardonnay. The winemaker’s light touch means the glass is full of juicy fruit, without packing the wallop of butter and oak many have come to expect from Chardonnays originating around here. Encouraged by your enthusiasm for the wine, for the first time we have sought reviews and ratings on the Okapi Chardonnay (2013), and have been pleased and honored to be awarded a 92 from Wine Enthusiast and 93 from The Tasting Panel. Compare the 2012 and 2013 side-by-side and let us know what you think. We’ll eagerly slurp up a butter bomb occasionally, too, but more often we want a Chardonnay that works well with food and leaves you wanting a second glass. Cheers!

We are graduating to a two-tiered club to better meet the needs of our frequent flyers. Now you can choose between SILVER and GOLD levels, depending on whether you would like to receive your twice-a-year allocation of wines in shipments of 6 or 12 bottles. From now on, we will present a selection of wines, and offer you the no-fuss option of receiving those wines as selected, or cherry picking your favorites to fill the standing order. Look here to see the benefits of each level.

 

Sincere thanks to the many friends of Okapi Wines who expressed concern after last week’s earthquake in Napa. We experienced serious shaking, and had a bit of damage in the house and garage, but we were luckier than many in our community. Of all the hundreds of gallons of Okapi Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay in barrels and cases, only a few drops were spilled! The grapes held tight in the vineyard, and we we are back on track for a robust, and possibly early, harvest. Two years from now, let us know: can YOU detect the seismicity in the 2014 vintage?

We will be bottling our 2010 Okapi Cabernet and 2011 Okapi Chardonnay on Tuesday, September 4 at a winery in St. Helena. The glass, labels, corks and capsules should all arrive just in time to ensure a smooth day on the bottling line, all orchestrated by Olabisi’s famed winemaker Ted Osborne. We are able to take along a guest or two to observe the process, so let us know if you are interested in joining us for a long day of work and celebration dinner afterward.

Here’s some fun trivia: The grapes come from Napa, the barrels come from France, bottles come from Mexico, the capsules come from Spain, the corks come from Portugal, and the animal shown on the label comes from the DRC in Africa. Our winemakers have lived and worked internationally. We have tasted and learned about wine all over the world. Just imagine the combined global experience that goes into finishing one perfect bottle of Okapi!