WELCOME TO MOUNT VEEDER WINERY
OUR MOUNTAIN VINEYARDS
Resembling a giant staircase, Mount Veeder's vines are planted on wide terraces of earth cut into steep slopes. At elevations of 1,000 to 1,600 feet, the microclimate is very different from the Napa Valley floor. Above the fog bank, exposed to the gentle morning sun and protected from the afternoon heat by the surrounding mountains, grapes on these vines ripen slowly and evenly. And in autumn, the mountain's cool days and warm nights mean extra hang time.
Our three ranches on Mount Veeder bask in the clear mountain sunshine high above Napa Valley. Estate ranches range in altitude from 1,000 to 1,600 feet in elevation to provide diverse microclimates for a wide variety of growing conditions and fruit profiles. All of the key Bordeaux grapes prosper, keeping with the tradition of being the first vineyard in California planted to all five Bordeaux varieties.
THE WINERY RANCH
The Winery Ranch is where it all began. The winery’s founders, the Bernsteins, made their home in an old Civil War-era cabin built on the original Winery Ranch where the pioneering couple planted their first vines. Today, the Winery Ranch is being re-terraced and given new life with high-density plantings of the finest Bordeaux clones, carefully selected for this ruggedly challenging environment.
THE NORTH RANCH
The North Ranch lies high atop the mountain where panoramic views sweep from the Napa Valley to the San Francisco Bay nearly 60 miles south. Rows of vines march into the sky and disappear over the horizon following the curves of the mountaintop and providing the vineyard with a range of exposures. The North Ranch was replanted through the 1990s using rootstocks suited to Mount Veeder’s severe summer conditions.
THE ROSENQUIST RANCH
The Rosenquist Ranch vineyard's high elevation creates unique and rugged growing conditions which encourage vines to struggle to produce a low yield of high quality fruit. The vineyard is beautiful, with steeply terraced vineyard rows wrapping around the mountainside. Full, open exposures to the mid-day sun gives optimum fruit development and ripening Rosenquist fruit displays the full majesty of Mount Veeder - rich and supple, bold and brambly.
Michael and Arlene Bernstein were the first to plant grapevines on Mount Veeder in 1970. When 59 of their original Cabernet cuttings took root and flourished, they knew they were on to something. Encouraged by their friend and Napa legend Robert Mondavi, the Bernsteins established the first winery on Mount Veeder.
At the time, the Mount Veeder AVA did not exist. Undaunted, Michael and Arlene became the driving force behind its establishment. They later made history as the first vintners in Napa Valley to plant Petit Verdot, and the first to plant all five of the classic Bordeaux varieties on the same property.
Today, Mount Veeder Winery has three vineyard ranches nestled high in the Mayacamas Mountains, producing powerfully flavorful, concentrated wines that express their unique mountain terroir.
Niki Williams grew up in a central Illinois farming community, where she honed her land management skills from an early age. Niki also worked for a European travel company, through which she visited the top winemaking regions of France and Italy, discovering a deep love of wine along the way. When presented with the chance to return to school in 2008, Niki committed herself to her growing passion by earning a B.S. in Viticulture Enology at the University of California, Davis in order to pursue a career in winemaking.
OUR RESPECT FOR THE LAND
The goal at Mount Veeder Winery is to foster the natural balance of the vine and preserve the integrity of the land with a dedication to crafting wines that are the purest expression of this ruggedly beautiful site. Respecting the land and cultivating grapevines on Mount Veeder isn’t a simple task. The challenge lies in the ability not only to produce great wines, but also to improve the sustainability of the vineyards, prevent erosion, improve the quality of the runoff water, allow the deer and wildlife a place to live, and have the vineyard live in harmony with nature.
Many steps are taken in order to accomplish these goals, including a strict attention to erosion control. Following the contours of the land, the vines cannot be planted in long, straight rows; instead, the rows are laid out in shorter, curving pieces. Top soil is shallow and precious, so installation of extensive drainage systems is essential to protect against soil erosion. Water collector basins are created along the inside of the terraces, emptying into underground drainage pipes that run through the vineyards.
A cover crop of grasses and clover plus an organic mix of legumes that fix nitrogen levels and add organic matter back into the soil restore nutrients and help to control erosion. Organic composts also help maintain the vines’ nutritional balance. Compost is spread in the fall so that soil microbes and nutrients can penetrate the soil with the winter rains.
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