Sky Devil Wines: Shared History; Shared Passion; Shared Mission
We've got three common interests at Sky Devil Wines: a great love of history and country; a real passion for excellent, terroir-inspired wine; and a sincere desire to support important causes that we believe in. Sky Devil Wines, a veteran-owned winery, was started in December 2017 with the intent of honoring and pursuing our common interests.
Our founders share a connection to a unique piece of American military history: Marine Corps Aviation. Jeff’s grandfather – one of his lifelong heroes – was a maintenance Marine in WWII and served with VMF-311, a Marine Corps F4-U Corsair squadron stationed in the South Pacific. Matt comes from a long line of Navy and Marine Corps Naval Aviators and served as a Marine Corps AV-8B attack pilot with VMA-542 and VMA-231 in Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom in the early/mid 2000s. With this connection to Marine Aviation, it seemed natural to name our winery Sky Devil Wines. But what’s a Sky Devil?
Since WWI, Marines have proudly referred to themselves as Devil Dogs. In time, some Marine aviators adapted the term for their own use. So sprang to life the term Sky Devil to describe a Devil Dog with wings. The job of a Sky Devil is difficult and few things come easily, yet years of training result in sharpened professionals that serve as part of one of the world’s finest fighting teams. The F4-U Corsair, the legendary gull winged fighter plane of WWII, is an iconic and enduring symbol of Sky Devils around the world and has been adopted as the symbol of our winery.
We’re building the Sky Devil brand to exhibit our namesake’s esprit de corps and to embody the ideals of a high performing team. Relentless perseverance is foundational to the Sky Devil, and Sky Devil Wines pursues its passion and its mission in the same way. Every day.
We’ve shared countless meals with family and friends and spent hours around a harvest table while discussing common interests, food, and great wine. Our conversations frequently turn toward a dissection of the styles of wines we enjoy and in which we share a passion. Time and again we determine that our pallets are similarly drawn to mountain fruit – fruit that actually grows in the sky – and to terroirs that result in wines displaying powerful tannins and a layered complexity.
In reality, nothing comes easily to mountain fruit (sound familiar?). Mountain soil can be an extreme mix of both volcanic and alluvial compounds. A 50 degree temperature swing between day and night is common on the mountain. Proper irrigation is difficult and oxygen is less plentiful at altitude. Overall, these grapes are smaller in volume as they struggle to survive. To sum it up: mountain fruit works hard. But the result is a grape that is truly stressed and is worthy of inclusion in a bottle of wine that will thoroughly express the “sense of place” from which it comes.
The grapes of our Inaugural Release Cabernet Sauvignon hail from the Knights Valley AVA, have spent a lifetime struggling to “earn their wings,” and are standing up to the challenge we’ve undertaken to produce a high quality, structured wine. Our Cabernet Sauvignon is particularly evocative of the region and it expresses the honest and powerful truth of Knights Valley.
Need pic of Matt & Jeff
Sky Devil’s founding ethos is simple: When you’ve made it, pull others up. When those individuals make it, they will follow your example and pull others up as well.
From day one, we will contribute a significant portion of Sky Devil’s sales to veterans and veteran-specific causes. Our initial intent is to provide scholarships to veterans seeking to attend business school. Further, we will offer pro bono business consulting and advisory services to those veterans striving to establish their own businesses. As Sky Devil grows, our ability to give grows too.
More generally, Sky Devil Wines seeks to inspire people to strive for something great, to reach for what feels like the impossible. We want people to work hard and to feel confident in taking calculated risks. At the end of the day, we've found that NOTHING is impossible.
Perhaps Robert Mondavi, when referencing the early days of his brand, said it best: "When we started, we did not have the knowledge of how to accomplish our goals, but I knew we had to begin."
And so we begin!