An adventurer by heart, Nathan Fay grew up in Piedmont, California. He was pursuing a mining degree from Michigan Tech when he was offered the opportunity to do construction in Los Angeles in 1932. At the height of the Depression, he travel west again on his Indian motorcycle. World War II found Fay serving in Europe; he did a bit of of everything during his post war years before coming to the Napa Valley to sell International Harvester farm equipment. His love for the outdoors pulled him to consider farming and it was his interest in wine and wine grapes that induced him to buy 205 acres of fallow pastureland called Stags Leap Palisades. Against the advice of more educated opinions, Fay held fast to his desire to grow quality Cabernet grapes; after all, they are the backbone of the fine reds of Bordeaux-and he felt confident they would do well. The rest, as they say-is history, for it was in 1976, at the Judgement of Paris, when a Cabernet Sauvignon made from Stags Leap grapes won first place in the historic blind tasting of international wines.
A humble man, Fay mentored many a wine maker in the district. His wisdom and courage won him the respect of many and he is considered to be the father of the Stags Leap District. He helped to craft the image of California as a producer of quality wines in the global market.
This endowment was launched by the Stags Leap District Winegrowers with additional contributions by the friends and family of Nathan Fay, in recognition of his life's work and dedication to viticulture. The endowment supports a graduate student studying viticulture at UC Davis.