Porthos | The Wine Insiders
Martin Estate
martin-estate-logo-color-sm.jpg MARTIN ESTATE WINERY was built in 1887 by pioneer vintner and then Napa County Sheriff Henry H. Harris. Harris arrived in the Napa Valley in September of 1853, after traveling with his family by ox-teams in a train composed of fifteen wagons from Missouri, when he was 15 years old.

MARTIN ESTATE is located in Block B of the original Caymus Land Grant, in the heart of Napa Valley's premium Cabernet Sauvignon region now known as the "Rutherford Appellation".

In 1909 Harris leased his fully equipped building to Georges de Latour who was looking for a facility as well as a good winemaker to teach his young apprentice Joseph Ponti. The structure was outfitted with a crusher, a press and several redwood tanks, and the caretaker Henry Stice. Georges de Latour hired Stice, who was known as an excellent wine maker, for his first crush. The 1909 vintage crushed at the Harris Winery yielded some 50,000 gallons of wine, which would be the first wine sold under the Beaulieu Vineyard trademark.

The next year, Georges de Latour again leased the old winery, producing a total of 100,000 gallons. This was the last time that wine was made in the magnificent H.H. Harris Winery.

In 1941, the imposing stone building was renamed "Puerta Dorada" and transformed into an elegant country chateau. But the upkeep of the estate was not easy. Financial problems caused the property to fall into disrepair, and well over 50,000 bats called the structure home.

The property was purchased in 1996 by Greg Martin, a collector and wine aficionado. He and his wife loved the heritage of the Harris Winery, and decided to do everything they could to restore and maintain its 18th and 19th century feel. The Estate Vineyard was planted, and the H.H. Harris Winery was resurrected as MARTIN ESTATE after ninety years of dormancy.