Laurie M. Shelton, Owner and Founder of CAMi Vineyards/CAMi Art+Wine, arrived in the Napa Valley in 1997 and started CAMi Vineyards as a tribute to her husband, Tom, soon after he lost his battle with brain cancer. The couple had been living on the vineyard when Tom passed away and Laurie thought using the vineyard’s Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes would be a wonderful tribute to Tom’s dedication to the Napa Valley. Named for their youngest child, Camille, CAMi Vineyards makes less than 300 cases of wine annually.
A Napa Green certified vineyard for more than four years, CAMi doesn’t use any pesticides and very little water as it moves towards 100% dry farming. The CAMi vineyards also play home to a host of owls that help manage the critters – a far cry from the days when a neighbor would cover his vineyard in plastic and pump poison into the ground to kill nematodes. “I was pregnant at the time and shut it down,“ Laurie told Visit Calistoga. Now with a small but mighty team, CAMi Vineyards produces four wine varietals, including their flagship CAMi Red Wine Blend, an Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and a Sauvignon Blanc. Also available from the estate: olive oil from the olive trees found on property.
An artist since 2001, Laurie has shown her delightful cow paintings in Paris, Palo Alto, Yountville and at her own gallery in Calistoga, CAMI Art + Wine. Thanks to her artistic talent, Calistoga also has Laurie to thank for the public art project located on the fence next to her gallery. Painted by Laurie and Camille, along with a few friends, the “I (heart) Calistoga” sign has become a community and visitor favorite that also incorporates Visit Calistoga’s hashtag, #thisisCalistoga. “This is Calistoga means the heart of the town, and reflects the spirit of this community,” Laurie shared.
When not painting or running her art gallery and vineyards, you’ll likely find Laurie enjoying a vineyard stroll with her dogs, Calypso, Butter and Flower, with a glass of wine in hand-Italian style (in a small juice glass), enjoying the setting sun and the beauty of Calistoga. “Calistoga is special because it is at the Northern End of the Napa Valley,” Laurie told Visit Calistoga. “When I moved here it wasn’t even an appellation. Calistoga was and is a little bohemian, not as fancy, more of a cowboy town and that is what makes it special. You feel the community that makes up the Napa Valley.” This is Calistoga and this is Laurie Shelton, CAMi Vineyards/CAMi Art + Wine.
This is Calistoga is our blog series profiling our members, their stories and life in Calistoga. Check in regularly and follow along.