Wing Canyon Vineyard is run by the husband wife team of Bill and Kathy Jenkins and is located about 4 miles in on the very windy Mt. Veeder Road off of the Oakville Grade which starts just west of the town of Oakville. This is a very small and remote winery which sits at the bottom of a very steep hillside vineyard. The winery is at the owners residence and a visit here is for very serious wine enthusiasts only as they are not open to the public. Any appointments should be made well in advance to accommodate the owners schedule. This is the only Napa area winery we've visited to date that is accessible entirely via a dirt 4wd road. If you don't have a 4wd vehicle you will have to park at the top of their dirt driveway just off of the paved Mt. Veeder road and Kathy or Bill can pick up here.
A visit to this winery is about as far from the "normal" preconceived notions of the "Napa wine experience" that you can have! Don't even think about taking a 2-wheel drive car down their road - over the years a number of cars have gotten stuck. Wing Canyon sits in the heart of the Mayacamas Mountain range. Bill and Kathy purchased 160 acres in 1982 and then cleared 10 acres to vine. Their first vintage was in 1991 and their typical annual production is merely 400 to 700 cases. The small winery building is built of rammed earth which is a mix of earth and concrete which has been compressed. The walls are 2 feet thick and as a result moderate the temperature inside very well throughout the year.
Wing Canyon specializes in two types of wine; a Cabernet Sauvignon and their Lolita Merlot. All their wines are hand crafted and grown on site with the exception of a blending varietal which they source from one of their Mt. Veeder neighbors. Because of their small production they can pick when they want and may only pick certain parts of their vineyard at a time. As a result harvest can stretch out over multiple days or weeks. This is important in making high quality wines and ensures that only the best, ripest fruit is used. Most of their acreage is dry farmed resulting in lower yields (merely 1.5 tons/acre on average) but more richly concentrated fruit. In addition, they use 100% sustainable farming practices and plant beneficial cover crops both for the soil and to attract beneficial insects to the vineyard. They don't use herbicides, pesticides or synthetic fungicides.
The fruit in this part of the Napa area is extremely concentrated and they typically harvest between 1 and 1.5 tons which is quite low compared to valley grown fruit. This type of fruit produces very concentrated flavors in the actual wines. We tried their 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon; it definitely has some cherry flavors as well as spices including cinnamon. It is a very nice wine. Besides the two reds sometimes they have a very small amount of Chardonnay available but often production is so small (1 or 2 barrels) that they often do not even commercially produce it. However sometimes there is some left over from what they consume at the winery and you can find this for sale on their website. Kathy hand paints a different label for each vintage.