Porthos | The Wine Insiders
Duckhorn Vineyards
duckhorn_logo.jpg Co-founded by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn in 1976, Duckhorn Vineyards has spent a quarter century establishing itself as one of North America's
premier producers of Bordeaux varietal wines. From its modest inaugural vintage of 800 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon and 800 cases of Merlot in 1978, to its addition of Sauvignon Blanc in 1982, Duckhorn Vineyards has crafted a tradition of quality and excellence that continues today.



Today, the winery's seven estate vineyards are located in alluvial fans of the Napa Valley and on the coveted slopes of Howell Mountain. The shallow and rocky alluvial soil drains easily, forcing the vines to send roots deep in search of water. The rocks retain the day's heat, bringing relief to the vine during cold spring mornings and foggy summer nights. Because of its topography, soils, and climate, Howell Mountain has distinctly different grape-growing conditions than the valley floor. Often during summer months, the maritime fog seeping into the Napa Valley below will not reach the mountaintop, giving Howell Mountain more sunlight and moderate temperatures. As a result, winemaker Bill Nancarrow has numerous vineyard blocks to choose from, each offering markedly different flavor profiles.



In the winery, Bill applies an artisan's approach to winemaking, blending from almost 200 distinctive lots using taste and instinct, not formula. Wines are barrel-aged separately by vineyard lot, utilizing an extensive barrel program that sources 25 different types of oak from 13 separate cooperages. The majority of the barrels are made from French oak in the Bordeaux Chateau style. These barrels breathe easier, encouraging the wines to develop. Duckhorn also employs many water bent barrels, a process which removes harsh tannins from the wood, bringing about toasty, caramelized flavors. The resulting wines combine accents from a comprehensive barrel program with grapes from diverse smaller appellations within the broader Napa Valley, including Howell Mountain, Carneros, Yountville, Rutherford and St. Helena.



For nearly three decades, the commitment to crafting wines of distinction has remained at the heart of the Duckhorn Vineyards philosophy. As its Napa Valley estate properties continue to mature under Bill's stewardship, the winery will continue creating world-class wines from exceptional vineyards.