In the 1980s, we purchased a small ranch in Jericho Canyon at the base of Mt. St. Helena in Napa Valley, California. It took less than a minute to know that this ranch was what we had been looking for over the previous three years: it had a creek filled with tadpoles and water skeeters, a 100 year old farm house, a pond shaded by gorgeous oak trees, a stupendous view of the Palisades and Mt. St. Helena, and meadows dotted with wild flowers. We knew without a doubt that this was the place to raise our children and our grapes.
Originally given in a land grant to a veteran of the Civil War as payment for his services, the ranch is situated along the road to the old Silverado Mine, a spot made famous by Robert Lewis Stevenson in his book Silverado Squatters. The property had been used as a cattle ranch since the 1930s, but it showed evidence of a pre-Prohibition vineyard alongside of Jericho Creek. We replanted the old vineyard and extended it up the canyon, terracing extensively due to the steepness of the terrain. With the terraces following the contours of the land, it is reminiscent of an old world vineyard. We planted Cabernet Sauvignon in 1990 and Merlot and Cabernet Franc in 1993. We initially sold our fruit to our neighbors at Chateau Montelena and later to a variety premium producers including Pride Vineyards. In 1998, noted winemaker David Ramey discovered our canyon and the flavorful fruit we grow. David Ramey began purchasing our fruit for Rudd Estate, for whom he produced a vineyard designate wine that was very well received by the critics (Robert Parker : Rudd Jericho Canyon Vineyard 1998 – 95).
From 2001-2005 our fruit went to Ramey Wine Cellars, which produced a much sought after Jericho Canyon vineyard designate wine. Winemaker David Ramey also produced an ultra premium wine for our own label, Jericho Canyon Vineyard. Again, the wine received exceptional reviews (click here to see our vintage archive).
The 2006 harvest was an historic one for us. We completed our winery and began producing our first estate wines. With the winery facility only steps away from the vineyard, we are able to keep a watchful eye on our vines as we wait for optimal grape development. Once harvested, the fruit takes the short trip to the winery where we carefully tend to each small lot.
2011 brought another welcome change. Our son, Nicholas, having graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Viticulture and Enology, joined us full time at Jericho Canyon. We couldn’t have asked for a greater addition to our Jericho team.
Ever evolving, we continue to strive for the best possible wine from each vintage. Working alongside 2012 Food and Wine winemaker of the year Aaron Pott and the legendary blending consultant, Michel Rolland, we continue to produce powerful wines that reflect their rugged hillside origins.