THE APPELLATION: Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley
LOCATION: Located at the southern end of Napa Valley about 5 miles from the San Francisco Bay, at the base of Mount Veeder and on the bank of Dry Creek.
CLIMATE: The vineyard enjoys cool fog in the evening hours through early morning. The summer days average in the upper 80’s, allowing perfect ripening of the seeds and skins- a key attribute of beautiful, expressive Cabernet Sauvignon. Harvest is usually in October, allowing a slow ripening period over a long growing season, resulting in a graceful wine, finely grained and integrated tannins, good acidity and varietal expression.
SOILS: The vineyard was created over millennium by the layers of forces from regional geological events that created complex layered soils:
- Creek Bank Deposits: Dry Creek, a major tributary o to the Napa River, frequently flooded the vineyard site, leaving behind sand & gravel. Parts of the vineyard were once an ancient creek bed. This causes the vines to struggle for nutrients, creating small berry size, which increases grape flavor density.
- Volcanic Action: The Vaca Mountain volcanic eruptions on the eastern slope flowed to the vineyard. Decomposed volcanic soil layer with alluvial soils.
- The San Francisco Bay once extended into Napa Valley making deep layers of the vineyard part of a prehistoric ocean bottom.
- Erosion of alluvial soil from Mt Veeder on the western slope created deep loamy soil with good moisture content and the ability to mainly dry farm these blocks.
As the grapes penetrate these diverse soils resulting from the convergence of Mt Veeder alluvial soils, Dry Creek gravel & loam deposits, ancient ocean bottom and decomposed volcanic soil, they encounter layers of influences creating the wine’s enormous complexity.
“I knew something special was going on beneath the ground of our estate gardens. When planting large trees and shrubs they often languished for a few years before they had a huge growth spurt. When we excavated a 20’ deep drainage trench, we discovered alternating striates of gravel, 12” cobble and loam. Now I understood- the roots had to forge through this complex structure. But when they did they, they flourished!
And so was with our vineyard. The result: very small concentrated fruit growing next to vigorously vines. They each demanded their own water, pruning and fruit management program. But this offers us excitingly varied grape flavors, which you will discover in our unique wine.”
-Wayne O’Connell, Vintner