For those of you who know me well, it’s no secret how much I cherish and fondly remember the years I worked in the Napa Valley: a place that not only solidified my growing interest in wine, but a place that thought me so much about hospitality and what it means to serve others.
Which is why I’m so happy to be interviewing Mr. Michael Silacci. This is the gentleman who oversees the winemaking and vineyard management at Opus One. For those of you who may not be familiar with Opus One this will be a good introduction. The winery was the vision of two iconic names in the wine world: Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe De Rothschild. Mondavi wanted to make a wine that would be considered an American first growth and the Rothchilds in turn by collaboration be giving California wine the proverbial tip of the hat in the world’s stage.
Opus One debut in 1984 showcasing the 1979 and 1980 vintage. Both wines were released at the winery for $50 per bottle– thus marking the beginning of upper tier California wines. By the way, today the wine is priced at around $295 at the winery.
The wine is a blend of the five Bordeaux varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Annual production hovers around 25,000 cases.
Now back to Silacci: he has degrees in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis and the University of Bordeaux. He has worked with legendary names in California like Warren Winiarski of Stag’s Leap and Napa pioneer André Tchelistcheff. Silacci has been at Opus One since 2001. He was there during the constellation purchase of the Mondavi’s 50% interest in the company in 2004. Not only has Silacci served a pivotal role in the direction of what Opus One is today, but if he has it his way, what it will continue to be for generations to come. This is here, is a slice of his story.