Napa Valley embraces all its vintners and growers. Paul Segas and Dave Cofran, Highlands Winery’s proprietors have roots that extend to the Seventies when being a vintner was extremely risky and not a sure thing. Paul Segas’ and Dave Cofran’s heritage in the Napa Valley extend far beyond their experience as they are considered pioneers in the Napa Valley viticulture and viniculture community. Combined, Paul and Dave have over 75 years of grape growing and wine making experience! Every bottle of Highland’s wines shine with this experience.
Dave Cofran worked in the valley as an enologist and winemaker, starting in 1967. In 1984, he joined old classmate Justin Meyer as General Manager of the famed Silver Oak Cellars, to this day, one of the premier Napa Valley wineries. Dave remembers the early days of Silver Oak when the winery was literally in an old cow barn.
At first, Silver Oak farmed primarily on flat land but as time went on, the winery discovered the value of higher altitude vineyards. This affinity for the hills influenced Dave’s desire to base Highland’s wines around Howell Mountain’s fruit. As a matter of fact, the fruit from the Black Sears vineyard used in the Highlands Cabernet is harvested from the highest altitude of any vineyard in the Napa Valley. In addition the vineyard is farmed organically and the wines produced from Black-Sears vineyard are truly organic.
The cool night on Howell Mountain give our grapes it unique character. The grapes “bud out” late and are slower to develop. This late ripening grape has superior hang time which then produces exquisite flavors.
Think back to where you were in 1967 when Dave started in the wine business, that accumulated knowledge, experience, and judgment can be tasted in every glass of Highlands Winery wines.
Paul Segas is another Napa Valley pioneer from the Seventies has over 33 years of grape-growing history in his portfolio. In 1973, Paul, an executive with IBM in San Francisco, saw an opportunity in the wine business he wanted to pursue. With absolutely no experience, he acquired vineyard property in both Sonoma and Napa.
Paul took classes at UC Davis, networked with vineyard people in Napa, and read extensively while holding down his travel-intensive job at IBM.
In a short time, his grapes became a much sought-after commodity for such brands as Chateau Montelena, Bouchaine, Pine Ridge, Robert Mondavi, Joseph Phelps, Domaine Chandon and Mumm Napa Valley, to name just a few.
In the course of these relationships, Paul had the privilege to work with the founders of these great brands, and was amazed that they would share so much knowledge with him. Much of this knowledge would be considered “trade secrets” in other businesses.
In 2000, Paul met the owners of Freemark Abbey, who introduced them to winemaker Bruce Scotland who had been making wines from Howell Mountain fruit. In partnership, they created Highlands Winery in order to establish a high-end brand independent of Freemark Abbey.
In 2005, Paul purchased the brand, and brought on Dave Cofran, who had just retired from Silver Oak, as managing partners.
A couple months later, in mid-2005, a successful business executive from the Silicon Valley, TH Tan, bought into the partnership because he liked what he saw. Being a business person who has made his money in his own field of expertise, TH Tan wanted to help finance this quirky enterprise and, at the same time, join force with the wine-knowledge people, Dave and Paul. TH Tan has actively promoted Highlands wines in Singapore since his retirement in 2006. He's now involved in a promotional tour in Malaysia, his native country and a country which has bestowed two knighthoods (known as "Dato" in Malaysia) on him so far for past accomplishment and contribution.
The Highlands Partnership has, since inception in 2005, expanded to include others with different backgrounds, all sharing a love of great wines crafted for maximum pleasure. Winemaking is a labor of love and requires resources that can only be provided by successful investors and, a knowledgeable team of winemakers. This partnership has both. The timing is also auspicious as all over Asia there is a pent-up demand for excellent wines crafted with balance and boldness. We in Highlands Winery are looking forward to a very promising and rewarding future.