Duckhorn Vineyards Duckhorn Vineyards is part of three winery estates and is located just off the west side of the Silverado trail at 1000 Lodi Lane. Typically this winery is not open to the public but we have found if its not crowded and you show up they are welcoming and will let you taste. However be aware that during many weekends due to crowds this is not possible. As a result appointments are suggested for weekdays and required for weekends. Tasting is in a very elegant country style building called their Vineyards Estate House. There are several private areas for tasting but for a general tasting you sit at marble covered tables with the glasses in front of you and your server fills each one.
The semi-private estate tastings are offered daily and appointments are a must. These are educational tastings in which you taste the best wine they offer (estate and limited production) which are paired with a variety of cheeses. Along with Paraduxx their “sister” Napa winery, this tasting facility is first class and one of the nicest in the valley. Think restaurant dining but for wine instead. The room is surrounded with windows and you have good views out on their gardens. A small circular wine bar is in the center of the tasting room and is surrounded by tables.
You can choose from one of two “classic” tastings or choose their “reserve” tasting, which includes a tour and pairs food with the wine. The majority of the wines served are various Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons – they specialize in Bordeaux varietals and have been producing wine since 1976. All wines are artisan in style as they are hand crafted and during fermentation and aging are treated in small lots depending on specific blocks within the vineyard. Duckhorn was among the early Napa Vintners to make Merlot as a stand along varietal wine rather than use it in blending. After visiting Pomerol France (premier Merlot region), the owners fell in love with this varietal.
As of press time, they own and manage 7 different vineyards in the Napa Valley area including several on Howell Mountain. Winemaking starts in the vineyards and teroir is extremely important – their website provides detailed information about each of their vineyards. The gardens are very nicely laid out and it is worth a few minutes to stroll around the estate or admire the grounds from their porch. Also take a look at their “duck” collection – which of course is a tribute to the owner’s last name & the name of this winery. Visit: www.duckhornvineyards.com