With the 2021 vintage, TD-9 becomes Shafer Vineyard’s newest Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is a rich, vibrant expression of some of our favorite Napa Valley vineyards. The name TD-9 celebrates John Shafer’s first tractor, which he taught himself to drive in 1973 as part of the founding of the winery.
“In its first vintage as a Cabernet Sauvignon, TD-9 fills the glass with irresistible aromas and flavors of fresh black cherries, black currant, red plum, thyme, rose petal, and cocoa. Lush and mouth-filling, this 2021 offers the kind of complexity and structure that ensures many years of enjoyment ahead.” — Shafer winemaker Elias Fernandez
Vintage and Production Notes
Release Date: September 1, 2023
Vineyard Locations: Stags Leap District, Yountville, and a vineyard in the foothills of the Vaca Mountains just south of Stags Leap District.
The 2021 Growing Season: The long, sunny 2021 summer created a beautiful growing season. The fruit developed rich color and clean, elegant, and pure aromas and flavors.
Varietal Composition: 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec
Brix at Harvest: 23.5° – 25.5°
Cooperage: 20 months in 60-gallon French oak barrels (100% new: Allier and Tronçais)
Suggested Retail: $75
The Shafer TD-9 Story
TD-9 is an adventurous red blend that celebrates a bold move. In 1973 John Shafer went from taking morning commuter trains in Chicago to teaching himself to drive an old TD-9 tractor in our Napa Valley vineyard. He’d never grown grapes or made wine in his life. That spirit of risk-taking and adventure continues to inspire everything we do at Shafer Vineyards today. TD-9 is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec – we hope you enjoy drinking it as much as we love making it.
TD-9 – Shafer’s New Proprietary Red Blend
The Risk-taking and Sense of Adventure That Launched Shafer Still Guides What We Do Today
In January of 1973 at nearly 50 years of age, John Shafer walked away from corporate America and moved his family to a new home in Napa Valley. He’d never grown grapevines or made wine in his life. In fact his only agricultural experience had been raising flowers in the front yard of the family home in Chicago.
With the purchase of the property John inherited a number of sheds and outbuildings, which held a trove of aging farm equipment. Among them he found an International Harvester tractor, an old TD-9 from the 1950s. One of his first challenges was teaching himself to drive and maintain his tractor.
It was all new to him and he would make some rookie mistakes. But that spring there he was in his Napa Valley vineyard and he thought back to how just months before he’d been going to work in a suit, tie, and hat with a newspaper under one arm riding a commuter train into downtown Chicago.
And here he was now teaching himself to drive a tractor, wrestling with mud, rocks, and vines. And he could not have been happier. In the space of just a few months he’d gone from a rider to a driver, from an office to the outdoors, from an employee to being his own boss, and it felt like he had a shot at something special.
TD-9 – Introducing Our New Wine
We are excited to launch a wine that has only one rule – to be as delicious as possible vintage after vintage.
“We own a collection of small vineyards in the foothills of the Vaca Mountains just south of Stags Leap District here in Napa Valley where we grow a number of varieties including Cabernet, Merlot, and Malbec,” says Doug Shafer. “Making TD-9 gives us the chance to take the best fruit of each year from these vineyards and create the most compelling wine of the
Using estate fruit as a basis, Shafer also purchases fruit from Napa Valley growers we know and trust, who are maintaining their vineyards at the highest standard.
“Any time you try something new, you take a gamble,” says Shafer. “But the story of TD-9 is all about risk-taking and a sense of adventure – it was there at our founding and it’s part of our DNA today.”