Lerner Project
Russell Bevan co-founded the Lerner Project with Stu Lerner in 2016. Together, they aimed to produce a selection of wines that would stand apart while still possessing the ‘Bevan style’ for which Russell is so renowned. The results are incredible!

  • Region: Napa Valley
  • Winery Location: Diamond Mountain District
  • Owner: Stu & Karen Lerner
  • First Vintage: 2016
  • Winemaker: Russell Bevan

Story
As a major wood pallet vendor to Napa Valley and Sonoma County for over four decades, Stu Lerner enjoyed a career as an important player in the wine industry supply chain. His connections with such wineries as Silver Oak and Robert Mondavi, including the iconic Opus One, put him in the unique position of being both a purveyor and a collector.

Once retired from his successful business in 2014, Stu’s attention shifted in a different, but related, direction. In the process of amassing a collection of some of the most sought-after wines ever produced in Napa Valley, his wife Karen recalls him saying many times that if he ever made a wine, it would have to be something he’d also want to buy himself. It’s hard, demanding work – the opposite of retirement. But, being a hands-on kind of guy, he wouldn’t change anything about the artisan nature of Lerner Project.

When it came to his winemaker, there was only ever one person in Stu’s mind: “I handpicked our winemaker. I’ve bought from all the top winemakers in Napa Valley and Russell Bevan was my choice because his palate and my palate seemed to fit best.”

Vineyards
Purchased in 2017 by Karen and Stu Lerner from Tom and Jane (Armstrong) Byrne, the iconic Armstrong Ranch vineyard represents the cornerstone of Lerner Project. The Armstrong vineyard is situated over 1500 feet above the town of Calistoga on the steeply terraced, and sundrenched hillsides of the Diamond Mountain AVA. Planted with Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 6 in 1983 by the legendary grower, Dick Steltzner, it is also one of Napa Valley’s oldest mountain vineyards. Stu is proud to point out that the original 37-year-old planting comprises the vineyard to this day. The single-vineyard Armstrong Ranch 2017 represented Lerner Project’s first-ever estate bottling of Cabernet Sauvignon.

If, as some people like to say, Oakville were “the Rodeo Drive of Napa Valley,” then the Tench vineyard would have to be one of its finest boutiques. It’s certainly in the right neighbourhood. Located among some of Oakville’s – and the world’s – best sites for Cabernet Sauvignon, the red, volcanic soils produce concentrated grapes and classically dark, juicy Cabernet Sauvignon with fine tannins and an abundance of pure fruit flavours and intensity. The pristine vineyard sits adjacent to a rocky knoll just west of the Silverado Trail, near Oakville Cross Road. This picturesque knoll and surrounding hills of eastern Oakville allow Tench to boast its own unique microclimate and is home to Lerner Project production, where Russell Bevan can keep an eye on everything from grape to glass. Tench is also the source of the first single-vineyard Lerner Project Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley’s stellar 2016 vintage.

Located just to the southeast of the city of Napa, the Sugarloaf vineyard is on the receiving end of the breezes and cooling effects of the nearby San Pablo Bay, rising up to 1600 feet in elevation on what Russell Bevan lovingly describes as a “pile of rocks. Literally, it’s a vineyard on top of a quarry.” The steep mountainous terrain, diverse soils and varied exposures all provide an ideal growing opportunity for Merlot and Cabernet Franc with immense depth, energy and complexity. As a viticultural property, Russell and Stu find it quite useful for the spicy-minerally fruit character that predominates in the blending grapes. It tends to add complex notes to the rich, full-bodied Tench and RMS Cabernet bottlings.

The Houyi Vineyard is located on the iconic Pritchard Hill, just east of Oakville, rising above the fog layer on a perfectly situated southern facing slope. These well drained, rocky, volcanic soils produce intensely concentrated grapes with massive, mineral-laced black fruits and distinct varietal character. This pristine vineyard site has garnered a cult-like following among collectors in recent years and is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after sources of Cabernet Sauvignon fruit in Napa Valley.

Winemaking
Russell Bevan is a winemaker like no other who has single-handedly re-written the Napa rule book to HUGE critical acclaim, building a massive global following in the process. He is a larger than life character whose Bevan Cellars wines match his neighbour, Screaming Eagle, punch for punch. Everything Russell touches turns to gold, and he’s high in demand throughout Napa. He was Stu Lerner’s first any only choice for winemaker and co-founder at Lerner Project.

Latest arrivals from Lerner Project

2018 Lerner Project, Napa Valley Project 18 Cabernet Sauvignon 1x75cl

JD97
£72 / BottleDuty Status: In Bond ⋅ Price incl. of Duty & VAT: £89.08 / BottleAvailability: Immediate ⋅ ETA to UK address: 2-4 days

2018 Lerner Project, Napa Valley Project 18 Cabernet Sauvignon 12x75cl

JD97
£855 / Case£71.25 / BottleDuty Status: In Bond ⋅ Price incl. of Duty & VAT: £1,058.14 / Case, £88.18 / BottleAvailability: Immediate ⋅ ETA to UK address: 2-4 days

2018 Lerner Project, RMS Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 12x75cl

JD98
£1,755 / Case£146.25 / BottleDuty Status: In Bond ⋅ Price incl. of Duty & VAT: £2,138.14 / Case, £178.18 / BottleAvailability: Immediate ⋅ ETA to UK address: 2-4 days

2018 Lerner Project, RMS Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 1x75cl

JD98
£147 / BottleDuty Status: In Bond ⋅ Price incl. of Duty & VAT: £179.08 / BottleAvailability: Immediate ⋅ ETA to UK address: 2-4 days