Porthos | The Wine Insiders
Ladera Vineyards
ladera_logo.jpg The Ladera story is a tale of two vineyards, almost at opposite ends of the Napa Valley. Their terrains and their histories are very different. Lone Canyon Vineyard on the flank of Mt. Veeder ranges in altitude up to 1,100 feet; some areas are so rugged and steep it’s difficult to stand upright. Ladera’s Howell Mountain property ranges in altitude from 1,600 feet to 1,800 feet: a gently rolling terrain, but set on a broad ridge of the mountain high above the Napa Valley floor. Our name reminds us of the virtue they share– both produce the distinctly intense fruit of well-drained hillside and mountain vineyards.

Lone Canyon Vineyard

Lone Canyon Vineyard was once a small part of Mariano Vallejo’s vast holdings, a portion of which was given as a gift to George Yount in the 1830s. He in turn gave a portion of the land to Charles Hopper, who planted his first vines in the area in 1877. Hopper was a trapper and trader who came to California in 1841 with the first immigrant wagon train. The narrative of his adventures includes tales of keeping starvation at bay by eating grizzly bears and his own mules, and confrontations not only with the native Indians but with General Vallejo himself.

Howell Mountain Appellation

By contrast, Ladera’s Howell Mountain vineyard was considered from the very beginning to be a little piece of France, and was named Nouveau Medoc Vineyard by the men who founded it. Jean Brun, a native of Bordeaux, and W.J. Chaix, whom he met in Napa, first planted 20 acres of Medoc grapes on Howell Mountain in 1877— among the first to plant vineyards up on Howell Mountain instead of on the Napa Valley floor.

Winery Building

In 1886 Brun & Chaix completed a three-story winery building with thirty inch thick stone walls. “The structure is built entirely of hard, durable stone, three stories in height, roofed with shingles, and being partly dug in the side of a sloping hill, there is easy access by wagons or teams to the three floors... The enterprise and perseverance shown by this firm in demonstrating what our elevated regions can accomplish in the way of grape growing is worthy of all praise… Now all doubts are removed on that score and they are the men to reap the reward which they justly deserve.” One of those rewards was a Bronze Medal in the 1889 Paris World Competition.

Our name, Ladera, stands to remind us of the nature of our vineyards, our fruit and our wines… hillside, intense, distinct.