June 15th, 2008

Silverado is a great name for a California wine. It evokes our place as the last frontier of the wild west, calls on our mining history and our collective memory of the potential treasure buried under our feet, if only we would take the time to dig for it. Carefully chosen, the name was intended to cast the proprietors as prospectors, in the tradition of the gold diggers who risked everything for the chance of instant fortune. Ah, but already the words “careful” and “intentional” give them away. This is actually the story of a couple who moved to the Napa Valley for love of the wine country. After moving, they decided to start growing grapes. After growing the grapes, they decided to start selling the crops to wineries. And it was only after seeing the success other wineries were having with their grapes that the pair decided to open their own winery. When, finally, it was time to create their own brand, they took a name from a book by Robert Louis Stevenson. Forgive me a little snobbery when I say that culling a name from classical literature is not quite frontiersman-like behavior. Even their commitment to keeping their wines affordable leaves them out of line with the money hungry fortune seekers they would claim as ancestors. It’s all OK, though. What they actually are, the Millers, is a practical, industrious pair who methodically applied themselves to building a winery. They produce wine that has been called “a remarkable study in success.” They are solid, dependable people who have given us solid, dependable wines. I say we forgive them their wild west fantasy.

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