News & Press

Best of the Best, 34th Annual

Robb Report, June 2022

...in 2013, the Araujos embarked on tastings that led them back to the balance and longevity of earlier Napa Valley reds–wines made from multiple sites across the valley. So for their new Accendo Cellars brand, they pivoted to the art of the blend, mingling fruit from a mix of the valley’s most coveted vineyards, the strengths of each chosen wine, according to Bart, complementing the high points of all the others.

Snippet of Robb Report article

13 Outstanding Sauvignon Blancs That You'll Want To Sip All Spring

Robb Report, March 2022

Tasting the newest Sauvignon Blancs, from California and Washington in particular, has more than confirmed that good West Coast versions are anything but simplistic. Layers of complexity—nuances of fruit, yes, but also florals, herbs and minerality, and mouth-filling weight and texture—create compelling wines.

Snipped of Robb Report article 11 perfect 100-point wines that you can buy right now

11 'Perfect' 100-Point Wines You Can Buy Right Now

Robb Report, February 2022

When it comes to wine critics’ scores—whether they sway you in any meaningful way or not—there are some thresholds that arguably matter. A bottle tagged with a 90 on the 100-point scale is in decent standing (if not in stellar position) on shop shelves, but drop that a single point, and it will languish; no one goes out looking for an 89. Halfway into the 90s is another milestone: Scores of 95 and over are downright impressive. In that range, the critics might quibble about nuance and style, but if their numbers are all clustered north of 95, they agree the wine is terrific.

The most compelling achievement, of course, is the century mark. Fully aware of the bragging rights (and marketing bonanza) riding on that perfect-100, critics don’t give it lightly. It’s the one score they’ve put the most serious thought into, and can back up with meaningful high praise.

Snippet of article New Sips in Napa and Sonoma in Napa Sonoma magazine

New Sips in Napa and Sonoma

Napa Sonoma Magazine, December 2021

2018 Accendo Cellars Laurea Napa Valley Red Wine, Napa: The Araujo family's home base and high-end custom crush facility is the ideal spot to taste this Bordeaux blend. The facility has come into its own, located on one of the more majestic valley floor locations. 

Snippet of Vinous article

2021 Winemaker of the Year - Françoise Peschon

Vinous, December 2021

As 2021 draws to a close, it's time to reflect on the year behind and take a look at what lies ahead. There were certainly plenty of ups and downs, but as I write this I am incredibly energized about the future. 

Winemaker of the Year - Françoise Peschon, Napa Valley, United States

Each and every year I have the immense privilege - and it is a privilege - to visit leading wineries all over the world to taste with many talented winemakers. It's a long list. The Winemaker of the Year award is meant to recognize someone whose achievements transcend craft, someone who stands apart from the crowd. This year's winner is Françoise Peschon.

Snippet of Robb Report article

11 Outstanding Reds From Famed Napa Winemakers That Won't Break the Bank

Robb Report, November 2021

When the Araujo family sold their legendary Eisele Vineyard, they very deliberately shifted from the single-vineyard model to multi-vineyard blending for their new brand, Accendo Cellars. The 2018 Laurea is the first vintage of the “second” wine they created, to benefit from the great fruit from their great vineyard sources that didn’t make the cut in their rigorous blending sessions for Accendo.

Magazine spread of Wine Spectator's article

The Beauty of Cabernet: The 2018 vintage sets a new bar

Wine Spectator, November 2021

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley has built a “can’t miss” reputation. This is true across California, but especially so in Napa, where there are rarely difficult vintages and the grape has become the region’s unquestioned lead player, representing more than half of the valley’s total plantings (23,500 acres, up from 18,246 acres in 2010). The result has been an ongoing string of excellent vintages...top 2018s in this report include the Accendo Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2018 (97, $365).

Snippet of Haute Living article

Exquisite Wine Gifts From Around The Bay Area For Everyone On Your List

Haute Living SF, November 2021

From wines for the tech guru in your life and the photography aficionado to the rock n’ roll fan and the magnum lover, we’ve got a fabulous holiday list for you! We’ve even tapped a few Bay Area wine experts to offer a few of their top bottle choices this year from our nearby wine regions. And you’ll find a few accessories and non-wine ideas in the mix, as well. Cheers to the holidays!

Snippet of Wine Spectator article An Exploration of Napa Cabernet with image of Bart Araujo and other panelists

An Exploration of Napa Cabernet

Wine Spectator, October 2021

The winemaking and grapegrowing styles of California Cabernet Sauvignon were on full display at the Wine Experience on Friday in a seminar featuring four stellar wines from Napa Valley. Moderated by Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth, the seminar was an exploration of the philosophical and historical factors that influence how grapes are grown, how wine is made and how those factors enrich the final product.

Daphne and Bart Araujo walk down lush vineyard row in Club Oenologique 9 article

What the Araujos did next

Club Oenologique 9, September 2021

For 23 years, Bart and Daphne Araujo owned Eisele Vineyard, arguably the most vaunted vineyard in Napa Valley. And now they don't. Instead, they have a new winery, Accendo, where they make fine wine from vineyards they don't own, dotted around the valley, emulating both the approach and style of Napa winemakers of the 1970s. But while the vineyard sources are impeccable, non will ever have the pedigree of the one they sold. 

During their time owning Eisele, the Araujos cemented its name in Napa folklore. They completely renovated the vineyard, replanting all the vines, which were threatened by phylloxera. 

Snippet of Robb Report article

13 Wines That Prove 2018 Is One of the Best Vintages of the Decade

Robb Report, August 2021

It would be a mistake to think that, in sun-drenched Northern California wine country, all vintages are created equal. It’s true that California vineyards rarely struggle to ripen as those in Old World regions often do, but a late frost can threaten after bud break; a sudden August heat spike can send sugar levels surging; a fire…enough said.

But then there was 2018. After several years of drought, generous rain set vineyards up with the moisture they needed.

Wine Spectator's Insider Weekly - July 21, 2021 - featuring Accendo Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

The Stars of 2018

Wine Spectator, July 2021

Following last week’s collection of 2018 California Cabernets, we're bringing you another bevy of top releases, all recently blind-tasted in our Napa office. These wines showcase the profile of the 2018 vintage: pure, vivid, yet remarkably restrained and focused fruit, with perfectly embedded structure. It’s a very sleek and refined set of wines.

Highlighted here is the Oakville AVA, the filet mignon of Napa Cabernet growing areas. These wines always show a tug of warm loam and iron minerality, buried deep in a core of rich, plush cassis and plum fruit, often backed by flashes of menthol, licorice and tobacco.

Noblemen Wine List

The Nobleman Wine List

In the Know Spirits

The Nobleman, June 2021

Accendo Cellars 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley is a complex, rich and confident wine that can certainly hold its own. Aged in French oak barrels for 21 months, this delicious wine will develop beautifully for years to come. 

Snippet of Hong Kong Tatler article

How To Drink More Consciously In The Age Of Covid-19

Hong Kong Tatler, May 2021

There’s a cardboard crate of wine sitting near my desk that feels, in the context of our Covid-19-fixated world, like a relic from a bygone era. “Don’t get off the couch,” it urges in a large, friendly voice. “It’s wine o’clock.” It seems to harken back to a time when a spell on the couch with a glass sounded like a tempting indulgence, rather than the only option after yet another set of plans got Covid-cancelled.

Indeed, who among us has not logged more couch time than we ever thought possible? In this work-from-home, learn-from-home, play-from-home era, it’s certainly understandable to seek a little escapism through wine, which, with its inextricable link to its place of origin, can transport us to remote places and eras, at least in our minds.

Snippet of Napa Valley Register article

The World In A Glass - New from the Araujo Family

Napa Valley Register, April 2021

Creating a new wine is easy; what is difficult is finding a new name.

Last year, when Araujo family decided to add a third Bordeaux blend to their Accendo Cellars portfolio, they had a clear goal: To use the wines that didn’t fit their flagship Accendo profile and create a “more approachable but still serious Cab-based blend.”

Snippet of Wine Spectator article

2018 Napa Cabernets Shine at Accendo, J.H. Wheeler and Trois Noix

Wine Spectator, March 2021

Napa Valley veteran Bart Araujo and family are building an admirable track record with a trio of young wine labels. Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth tastes six Cabernets from the 2018 vintage.

Bart and Daphne Araujo featured in Karen MacNeil's WineSpeed, People to Know

Karen MacNeil's WineSpeed, People to Know: Bart and Daphne Araujo

WineSpeed, February 2021

An interview with Karen MacNeil and Bart and Daphne Araujo discussing the Araujo’s new wine brand—Accendo Cellars.

Snippet of 65˚ & 57˚ Magazine article

Napa Valley's Accendo Cellars Introduces a New Label: Laurea

65˚ & 57˚ Magazine, February 2021

The Araujo family of Napa Valley's Accendo Cellars has introduced to their premium portfolio of varietals a more affordable wine that is ready to drink now. Like many vintners who produce ultra-high end, collectable wines, the family sought to create a more approachable label; a wine for all occasions to be enjoyed mid-week with a simple plate of pasta. 

Snippet of Financial Times article

Jancis Robinson on the next generation of California winemakers

Financial Times, September 2020

But by no means all next generation-ers are male. Jaime Araujo’s parents established the widely admired, biodynamically run Araujo Estate so successfully that they were made an oer they couldn’t refuse by François Pinault’s wine group. Renamed Eisele Vineyard, it is now a sister operation to Ch Latour of Pauillac. 

The Araujo parents have since set up from scratch once more, their new label being Accendo, made at their upmarket custom-crush facility Wheeler Farms.


Accendo Cellars Sauvignon Blanc lifestyle bottle shot in Robb Report's article

The 11 Best Sauvignon Blancs of 2020

Robb Report, June 2020

A second iteration for Napa’s Araujo family, Accendo is making top-notch Sauvignon Blanc a priority, with the help of consulting winemaker Michel Rolland and viticulturist Steve Matthiasson. This vintage—made in a mix of new and used French oak, concrete and stainless-steel drums, and aged sur lie—is an exquisite, complex example of the best Napa can produce. A spiced sachet of aromas includes fragrant jasmine, guava and hints of vanilla, and an orchardful of citrus (grapefruit, tangerine, lime zest) is rounded out by peach flavors, with vivid tension balanced by elegant creaminess.

Snippet of Vinous article

2017 & 2018 Napa In Depth

Vinous, January 2020

Bart and Daphne Araujo's Accendo wines keep getting better. The 2018 Sauvignon Blanc is the finest vintage of that wine yet. In Cabernet land, the Araujos continue to refine their approach to the sites they work with. Their 2017 Cabernet is fabulous; the 2016 is just as terrific as it was last year, and the 2018 (which I tasted from separate components) is looking like it, too, will be stellar. Going back to the 2017 for a second, a big part of what makes that wine special is that it was made at the Araujos' state of the art Wheeler Farms custom crush facility, designed by winemaker Nigel Kinsman. Equipped with generator power and the most modern equipment, Wheeler Farms operated through the October 2017 fires with no interruptions, which is quite remarkable.

2019 Winemaker of the Year: Françoise Peschon standing in a vineyard during autumn holding a glass of cabernet sauvignon

2019 Winemaker of the Year: Françoise Peschon

San Francisco Chronicle , December 2019

It’s in vogue for winemakers to deny that they impose “style” on their wines, to say they’re merely letting the vineyard speak. Peschon’s tendency to downplay her own role is earnest, but it’s also not entirely accurate. “She says it’s all the vineyards,” says Accendo Cellars owner Bart Araujo. “Well, I’m sorry, it’s not quite that simple. There has to be a shepherd. Francoise seems to have this intuitive ability to respect the science but also move beyond it, to a place of creativity.”

Cover of Wine Spectator's

A Benchmark Year: Annual California Cabernet Report

Wine Spectator, November 2019

This elite group includes the Accendo Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2016 (96, $360). Richly layered, offering ripe cassis, plum preserves, boysenberry reduction and açaí berry fruit flavors. A beautiful display of fruit.

Wine Enthusiast article

The New Generation of Napa Valley Vintners

Wine Enthusiast, October 2019

“You can’t have a successful multigenerational business without tapping into 100% of the talent. My dad [Bart Araujo] has this expression that he doesn’t want to be 100% better than anyone. He wants to be 1% better in a hundred different ways. There’s no such thing as repeating your success in wine. It’s chaos theory meets alcoholic beverage. You always have to find new ways of looking at things.” - Jaime Araujo interviewed by Virginie Boone

Line up of bottles in Decanter article

Collectible California

Decanter, October 2019

After selling the Araujo estate along with the Eisele Vineyard to François Pinault of Château Latour in 2013, Bart and Daphne Araujo founded Accendo (Latin for kindle, illuminate, inflame) in the heart of the valley. Their longtime winemakers Françoise Peschon and Nigel Kinsman moved with them. The 2016 soars with savory flavors and wonderful minerality. A relatively high percentage of Cabernet Franc for this estate gives the wine exquisite baritone richness. Already it’s a wine of finesse, without a shred of heaviness.

Karen MacNeil's WineSpeed

Super Sauvignons: A Whole New Class of Sauvignon Blanc

WineSpeed, May 2019

ACCENDO CELLARS Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Napa Valley, California) Beautiful long swaths of creamy green notes. Fresh and pure. Gooseberry and boxwood notes. 93 points

Drone image overlooking Vine Hill Ranch Vineyard in fall from Wine Spectator article

Bart Araujo Earns an 'A' with Accendo Cellars

Wine Spectator, September 2018

When the Araujos arrived in Napa and purchased Eisele Vineyard in 1990, they were seen as outsiders, with some questioning what might happen to such an iconic vineyard in the hands of new-to-wine owners. During their tenure, the Araujos elevated Eisele Vineyard to new heights. With Accendo, they're paying homage to Napa's past while fashioning a wine in a more modern vein, and they're doing so by letting the wine dictate itself. No one is questioning them now.

Daphne and Bart Araujo walk through vineyard during sunset in Decanter's article

The new names to know in Napa

Decanter, September 2018

Bart and Daphne Araujo are hardly new names. They spent 25 years burnishing the reputation of Araujo Estate and its legendary Eisele Vineyard before selling it to François Pinault, owner of Château Latour, in 2013. But they soon plunged into a very different project, whose wines debuted under their new Accendo Cellars label two years ago. (The Latin word accendo means ‘to inflame or arouse’.) Rather than create a single-vineyard red, they’re blending purchased fruit from friends’ top vineyards with their own plots in St Helena and Oakville to make an elegant, lushly fruity Cabernet Sauvignon. The idea is to echo the blended wines of an earlier era in Napa. Added to that is a crisp yet opulent and complex Sauvignon Blanc.

Daphne and Bart Araujo hold glasses of wine in front of the Wheeler Farms Hospitality House for

Crushing It

Napa Sonoma Magazine, April 2018

After they sold the winery in 2013 to the storied Bordeaux estate Château Latour, the Araujos hoped to give back to the industry that had supported them wholeheartedly. Bart also had a wealth of winemaking savvy to share. "After having a winery for 27 years, we had a sense of what was necessary to produce wine at the highest level," Bart says. He set out to craft an atelier of sorts, where a handful of winemakers would collaborate.

Snippet of Covey Rise's article

The New White Wine Paradigm

Covey Rise, April 2018

In the Napa Valley alone, there are currently more than 25 Sauvignon Blancs that cost more than $50 a bottle. Sauvignon Blancs such as Illumination, Accendo, Lail Vineyards “Georgia,” Araujo, Matanzas Creek “Journey,” Rudd, and Spottswoode are at the forefront of this new style of Sauvignon Blanc that’s the most exciting thing happening right now with white wine in the US.

Bart and Daphne Araujo featured in Napa Valley Register's article

Two 'second acts' in the Napa Valley wine industry

Napa Valley Register, March 2018

Wheeler Farms tractor sits in vineyard row as sun sets, featured in Robb Report's article

Napa Locals share their favorite Wine Country Hot Spots

Robb Report, January 2018

Make an appointment to visit Wheeler Farms, a new winery and farm in St. Helena. After a tour of their flawless gardens and winery, taste their Accendo Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc with snacks made from whatever is fresh from the garden. ~ Thomas Keller interviewed by Michalene Busico

Snippet of Bloomberg article

The Hot New Wines out of Napa Valley are White

Bloomberg, February 2017

2014 Accendo Cellars Sauvignon Blanc ($50) The crisp, pure 100 percent sauvignon blanc is the second vintage from a new buzzed-about winery. It’s citrusy and bright, with exceptional balance and intensity.

WineSpeed logo from Karen MacNeil's blog featuring Accendo Cellars

Wines to Know

WineSpeed, December 2016

Bart and Daphne Araujo sold their prestigious Napa Valley winery Araujo to First Growth Château Latour in 2013. Accendo (pronounced ah-CHEN-doe) is their new venture, and this is the very first vintage of the cabernet. The wine is majestic. Simultaneously restrained and yet bursting with internal energy, it’s a racehorse stamping in wait for the gate to be flung open. The dark, woodsy aromas are intoxicating. The flavors—spicy, primordial andexotic—are vividly precise. The word Accendo means to kindle, illuminate, inflame and arouse. A must try—right?

Snippet of Bloomberg article

Two New Cult Wines Are About to Debut in Napa: All the Details

Bloomberg, March 2016

“We decided to do something different,” said Bart. Instead of a single-vineyard cabernet like Araujo Estate, the first Accendo Cellars red is a blend from five top vineyards, including a couple that the Araujos own. This uber-blend (as they call it) harks back to Napa’s history in the 1960s and '70s, before astronomically priced single-vineyard wines became the rage.

Bottle shot of Accendo Sauvignon Blanc from Decanter's article

Anson on Thursday: What the Araujo family did next after selling to Latour owner

Decanter, March 2016

Bart and Daphne Araujo have started again after selling their namesake California wine estate to one of France's richest men, Francois Pinault, who also owns Château Latour in Bordeaux. Jane Anson finds out about the new Araujo wine venture - and predicts good things to come.

Accendo Cellars team photo featured in Le Pan's article

Five to Watch Valley Heroes

Le Pan, January 2016