On August 25th 2017, Duckhorn Vineyards commenced its 40th harvest with an early morning picking of Sauvignon Blanc from its original estate property, Marlee’s Vineyard in St. Helena. Named after Duckhorn Vineyards co-founder Margaret Duckhorn, Marlee’s Vineyard was acquired in 1976, the same year that she and Dan Duckhorn founded Duckhorn Vineyards. Two years later, the inaugural Duckhorn Vineyards harvest yielded 800 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon and 800 cases of Three Palms Vineyard Merlot. Today, the Duckhorn Vineyards estate program encompasses seven vineyards throughout Napa Valley, including the legendary Three Palms Vineyard. Using grapes from this diverse palette of estate fruit and top Napa Valley growers, Duckhorn Vineyards makes a renowned portfolio of wines, including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and the winery’s pinnacle red blend, The Discussion.
“It is a special milestone to begin our 40th harvest,” says cofounder and board member Dan Duckhorn. “When we founded Duckhorn Vineyards, it was one of the first 40 post-Prohibition Napa Valley wineries. Today, there are more than 400. We are both proud and grateful to have played a role in the evolution of Napa Valley into one of the world’s greatest wine regions.”
Dan fell in love with Merlot while traveling to St. Emilion and Pomerol in the early 1970s. Recognizing that the American palate was undergoing a dramatic shift away from jug producers toward quality varietal wines, he made the pioneering decision to focus on producing a world-class Napa Valley Merlot—a decision that ultimately helped to establish the varietal as one of the most popular in the United States. In 1982, Duckhorn Vineyards added a Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc to its lineup, and in 2012, the winery made its first Napa Valley Chardonnay.
“Duckhorn Vineyards has always been the foundation of quality and excellence that guides our company,” says longtime President and CEO Alex Ryan, who began working at Duckhorn Vineyards during high school, and came up through the ranks in the vineyards and production. “As our flagship winery, not only has Duckhorn Vineyards set the standard for our other wineries, I believe that Winemaker Renee Ary and our amazing team are making the finest wines in our long and storied history.”
“When it comes to working with great vineyards, there is no substitute for experience,” says Renee Ary. “When we talk about this being our 40th harvest, what we are really talking about is the fact that this is our 40th time harvesting grapes from our Three Palms Vineyard. Every year, we learn and understand more about this site, and the other estate vineyards we farm. This history and knowledge is something you can taste. It is a part of our wines.”
Duckhorn Vineyards is currently celebrating its 40th harvest with a special 40 Years of Duckhorn Vineyards wine tasting, which will include coveted library selections from throughout the decades. This special tasting opportunity is available daily at the beautiful Duckhorn Vineyards Estate House in St. Helena.
Beginning with the 2017 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, which will be released next year, all 2017 vintage Duckhorn Vineyards wines will include a special “40th Harvest” logo on the bottle.