Nathan Fay was among the grape growers who heeded the advice of Davis scientists on the best varieties for California’s climate regions. He bought a ranch in the Napa Valley in 1953 and in 1961 he planted the first Cabernet Sauvignon vines in what became the Stags Leap District of the valley. At the time there were only 800 acres of Cabernet in the entire country and Fay’s seventy acres represented a major increase in U.S. production of the classic French varietal. Since Fay’s first planting, Cabernet Sauvignon has become the premier red varietal in the various appellations in the Napa Valley including Stags Leap and Oakville.
At the time I put my vineyard in  the University at Davis was encouraging the ranchers to put in the better varieties like Chardonnay and White Riesling and Cabernet and Pinot Noir . . . I didn’t know anything about viticulture and enology. . . . All I did was to do what the experts were telling me to do and it worked out very well.
—Nathan Fay, Napa Valley grape rancher, interviewed in 1997
“I tasted that wine and it began . . . “
In 1969 winemaker Warren Winiarski asked grape rancher Nathan Fay for advice on irrigation machinery. During that discussion, Fay poured a glass of his homemade Cabernet, and Winiarski was hooked. Learning that the thirty-five acres of land next to Fay’s ranch were for sale, he bought them to grow his own Cabernet. He replanted that land, naming it SLV for Stag’s Leap Vineyard.