Far Niente is a towering presence in Napa and highly-regarded by wine collectors, but few know the love story behind the label…
Far Niente Chardonnay 2015
$45 per bottle on a minimum 4-case purchase. 15 cases available for this very small vintage.
Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
$118 per bottle. Only 10 cases left.
Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
$110 per bottle. Just released.
Dolce 2010 half-bottle
$45 per bottle. 4 six-packs available.
Call 850-687-1370 or write [email protected] to order.
The Far Niente story begins hundreds of miles outside of Napa. It was in eastern Oklahoma that Gil and Beth Nickel, future owners of Far Niente, first mastered the art of cultivation. In Talequah, Oklahoma, Gil and his family managed Greenleaf Nursery, a wholesale operation that became, and remains still today, the second largest privately owned nursery in the U.S.
And, fatefully, while helping to manage Greenleaf, Gil Nickel met his future wife. Beth Nickel’s father owned a small retail nursery near Bartlesville, Oklahoma and would make a couple of buying trips each year with his eight children along to assist. At the time of their first encounter, Beth was only eleven and Gil was twenty-one. So there were no romantic sparks, but their destinies, as it turned out, were set.
Prior to managing the family’s nursery business, Gil graduated from Oklahoma State University with degrees in physics and math. His first job out of college was as a guided missile analyst at a lab in Corona, California. By 1971, Gil had returned to Oklahoma and Greenleaf, but California was still much on his mind. More importantly, he had sampled his first glass of wine. Growing up in a tea-totaling Southern Baptist family, Gil had never had alcohol. At age 30, he finally drank his first glass of wine. No one is sure if it was a Grand Cru or Beaujolais or even whether it was red or white. But whatever the vintage, that glass of wine was an epiphany for Gil.
Meanwhile, Beth received degrees from both St. Gregory’s College, in Shawnee, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University. After spending a year working in London with her sister, she returned to the states and began working in New York City. On a visit back home to Oklahoma, she attended a Tulsa artist’s reception one evening and bumped into an old family friend, Gil Nickel. By now, Beth was 22, Gil was 32. The two began dating and traveling together. Napa became a frequent destination, and it was during this time that Gil and Beth began to seriously consider redirecting their experiences with gardening and nurseries to winemaking.