Paradigm Winery produces hand-crafted wines from the Harris Family Vineyards
in the heart of the Oakville appellation in Napa Valley.
Paradigm Winery is owned and managed by Ren and Marilyn Harris, two winegrowers with extraordinarily deep roots in Napa Valley. Marilyn's grandparents immigrated from Italy to Napa Valley in 1890, while Ren's family came to California in 1769. Marilyn and Ren moved to Napa Valley in the 1960's and settled into their home just east of where Paradigm sits today. Through a career in vineyard real estate, Ren learned much about the diverse growing regions in Napa Valley. In 1976, when they decided to purchase vineyards of their own, Oakville was the clear choice. Paradigm Winery was founded several years later and began producing wine with the 1991 vintage.
Ren and Marilyn hired a young and talented winemaker, Heidi Barrett, who has been with Paradigm since the beginning. They all felt a shared passion for making great wine, and a determination to preserve the small, family-owned style of winery that Napa Valley was built on. With an incredibly loyal team, Paradigm Winery maintains a hands-on approach to all winemaking and vineyard operations, nothing is outsourced. Every bottle you uncork was grown, crushed, fermented, barrel aged, bottled and stored on site. Ren and Marilyn have been tireless advocates for the Oakville appellation, eco-friendly farming, and environmental stewardship. They recently celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary.
Ren & Marilyn
Ren and Marilyn Harris were married on February 6, 1965 at St. Joan of Arc Church in Yountville. Marilyn’s family had been farming in Napa Valley since the 1890’s when her paternal grandparents arrived from the Liguria region of Italy. While most of Ren’s family came from Limerick County in Ireland during the late 1800’s, his paternal grandfather was a descendant of the rancheros who founded the Presidio of San Diego in 1769 when Spain ruled what is now California.
Marilyn taught 4th grade in San Francisco and Ren worked for a small construction company when they were first married. A modest profit from a home they remodeled enabled them to put a downpayment on a prune orchard in the Oakville area of Napa Valley in the late 1960’s. Eventually they planted grapes in the former orchard and in 1975 traded it into what today is Paradigm.
Paradigm consists of four contiguous parcels totaling fifty five acres. Paradigm is a selfcontained winery estate; including fifty acres of vineyard, the winery, two homes, a warehouse, a barn and an acre of olive trees.
The land destined to become Paradigm was planted to Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir and White Riesling when Ren and Marilyn first purchased the property. In short order Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandel replaced the original vines and Cabernet Franc along with Petit Verdot were added a bit later.
Since 1964, Vineyard owner Ren Harris has been walking among the Paradigm vines watching growing seasons turn into decades of quality winemaking. As he reflects on the vintages and varietals produced in the 70+ acre property, Ren shares his thoughts and stories.
READ REN'S LETTERS
Our hands touch the vines while we are tending to them. Our hands touch the vines when we are pruning. Our hands touch the grapes while we harvest. Our hands touch the wine in all of it’s phases. We do not employ mechanical harvesters or pruners. No ocular berry sizing and sorting, no mechanical or automated pumpover devices. No computer tank monitoring systems.
We pick by hand, we sort our fruit by hand in the field and at the conveyer, we pumpover by hand, we do not run to the computer first thing in the morning during harvest…we meticulously go from tank top to tank top and smell each tank.
The Paradigm Family
Marilyn and Ren have been blessed over the years with the helping hands and hearts of many wonderful and talented people. Things have changed from the 1960’s when Ren was driving tractors, pruning vines, fighting the frosts we used to have and all other aspects of growing grapes in Napa Valley.
Life was simpler, while not as much fun, when Marilyn and Ren sold all their grapes to various wineries in Napa Valley; but in 1990 the bank agreed to lend the Harris’ enough money to start a winery. Jon Lail was engaged to design the winery and Dick Peterson (Heidi Barrett’s father) was on deck to equip the facility with all the tools necessary to make our wine.
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