Edge Hill is a tribute to one of Napa’s most historic wineries from a veteran of the fine food and wine industry, Leslie Rudd. Rudd grew up in Kansas learning the wine and spirits business from his father, who built the state’s largest wine and spirits importer. Leslie Rudd later branched out into the specialty foods business and acquired Dean & Deluca, the iconic New York-based gourmet food purveyor, which he turned into a national business and eventually sold. In Napa Valley Rudd started Rudd Winery and opened other food and wine businesses, including restaurants. Rudd originally bought the Edge Hill property as a home for himself and his wife, but decided to turn it back into a working vineyard. The property produced wine commercially from 1867 to 1907. Edge Hill’s 5.5 acres of vineyards were replanted with a mix of the varietals that in the 19th century were used to make blends. Edge Hill grows Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Grenache, Carignane and other grapes to make what Edge Hill calls a “mixed black” wine. Such field blends were common in the 19th and early 20th centuries and today innovative producers are once again offering them. Edge Hill also makes Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, White Mixed Field Blends, and other wines. Its very limited production is generally available only through a mailing list.
St. Helena AVA is at the northern end of Napa Valley just north of Rutherford and south of Calistoga. It is a relatively warm climate thanks to the Mayacamas Mountains on its western edge, which protect it from Pacific Ocean fog. Out of the 9,000 acres in the appellation, some 1,500 are under vine. The principal grapes grown in St. Helena are the Bordeaux grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. St. Helena is considered prime wine producing territory, and it was one of the first important wine producing regions in northern California. The legendary Charles Krug founded his winery just north of the town of St. Helena in 1873, and today the appellation is home to many prestigious producers, including Abreu, Grace Family and Spottswoode.