What began many years ago for Paul and Suzie Frank as a casual interest in wine, escalated into a passionate search for a place to make a very unique wine. When they found their tiny jewel-like vineyard nestled between rolling knolls in Napa Valley, Gemstone seemed the perfect name. It is now a name well known to cult wine enthusiasts and is synomous with excellence.
They first divided their small vineyard into micro-blocks of five distinguished clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, two clones of Merlot, two clones of Cabernet Franc, and Petite Verdot. A no-compromise strategy was agreed upon, resulting in a dense planting of the vines on a variety of rootstocks carefully matched to the soil. Labor intensive cane pruning, meticulous canopy management and nutritional monitoring were employed. New levels of quality control were introduced with the installation of a radio telemetry weather station that downloads data to their computerized vineyard management program, along with neutron probes to monitor soil moisture.
Each of the micro blocks is vinified seperately, and then later blended to make the final wine. Anything that does not make the ruthless first selection, is blended into the second wine, Facets, or sold off in bulk. The result is a wine of the highest quality each year, with a true Gemstone vineyard "signature" as well.
In 2005, Philippe Melka, one of Napa Valley's best known consulting winemakers, became winemaker for Gemstone wines. Melka has been associated with some of Napa Valley's most distinguished labels, including his own, Metisse. Pam Starr also remains as a co-consultant to help in the complex blending process.
The results have been astounding.