October 27, 2015 | ORIGINAL ARTICLE|
When Christian Palmaz, president of Palmaz Vineyards, wants to know the temperature in one of his 24 fermentation tanks all he has to do is look up. Projected across the domed ceiling of his family’s 18-story high winery is a graph for each tank showing metrics such as temperature and brix (sugar level). It’s like something NASA might have designed, yet it’s just one of many technological innovations developed by the Palmaz family at their state-of-the art, 110,000 square foot winery, the largest in Napa Valley. “No one else has anything like this,” Florencia Palmaz, director of marketing, told me on a recent visit to New York.
The vision came from vineyard founder Dr. Julio Palmaz (Christian and Florencia’s father), a native of Argentina who spent most of his career in medicine as an interventional radiologist. He is famous for developing the balloon-expandable coronary stent, which earned him a place in the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame. His love of wine came during his residency at the University of California at Davis in the late 1970s, when he and his wife, Amalia, spent their weekends tasting wine in Napa. Although his work took the family to San Antonio, Texas, they dreamed of one day returning to start a winery of their own. Their chance finally came in 1997 after Dr. Palmaz sold the stent to Johnson & Johnson.