Michael Hirby & Schatzi Throckmorton of Relic Wine Cellars

Relic was founded in Napa Valley in 2001 by husband and wife team Michael Hirby and Schatzi Throckmorton, with a focus on historic winemaking techniques. Inspired by a love of Burgundy, they began making a small amount of Pinot Noir, and have since continued to mine history for old secrets in the making of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast as well as Thona and Bordeaux varietals from the Napa Valley, where their hillside cave winery is located.

When highly natural, traditional methods such as indigenous yeast fermentation, whole-cluster fermentation, extended lees aging, minimal-intervention, etc. are applied to California’s great terroirs, the resulting wines are world-class, complex, layered, and vibrantly aromatic. The diverse vineyard sources are tended with the utmost care, and are always grown to Relic’s specifications of yield, light exposure, irrigation.

After earning a degree in Philosophy from Colorado College, Michael worked for two years as a sommelier. Before moving to Napa Valley, he spent an extended period tasting with winemakers in France, adopted a traditional approach, but also learned that some winemaking rules are meant to be broken. Michael is currently the consulting winemaker for D.R. Stephens Estate, Husic Family Vineyards, Sarocka Estate, Wolf Family Vineyards, Flint Knoll, and MAZE, and was the consulting winemaker at Realm Cellars for eight years.

Schatzi earned a degree in History from Northwestern before moving to Napa Valley in 1999 to work harvest. Her skills were soon recognized, and she has been busy ever since. Schatzi is the Business Manager for Behrens Family Winery, where she has been for 17 years.


Relic has consistently garnered outstanding reviews from Wine Spectator, The Wine Advocate, and other top publications. Relic’s small production is sold mainly through the mailing list.