Lava Vine Winery was founded in 2004 by Joe and Jill Cabral with the goal of specializing in lesser-known grape varietals and appellations. But in 2016 the estate was purchased by Rudy von Strasser, founder of Von Strasser Winery on Diamond Mountain. Starting in 2017 the two wineries have been fully merged with all operations based at the enlarged Lava Vine facility on the Silverado Trail in Calistoga. Lava Vine's offerings generally include Grenache, Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel. The winery also frequently produces Verdelho, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Tempranillo, Syrah, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Gruner Veltliner.
Napa Valley AVA is the most famous winemaking region in the United States and one of the most prestigious in the world. With nearly 43,000 acres of vineyards and more than 300 wineries, it is the heart of fine wine production in the United States. Winemaking started in Napa in 1838 when George C. Yount planted grapes and began producing wine commercially. Other winemaking pioneers followed in the late 19th century, including the founders of Charles Krug, Schramsberg, Inglenook and Beaulieu Vineyards. An infestation of phylloxera, an insect that attacks vine roots, and the onset of Prohibition nearly wiped out the nascent Napa wine industry in the early 20th century. But by the late 1950s and early 1960s Robert Mondavi and other visionaries were producing quality wines easily distinguishable from the mass-produced jug wines made in California’s Central Valley. Napa Valley’s AVA was established in 1983, and today there are 16 sub-appellations within the Napa Valley AVA. Many grapes grow well in Napa’s Mediterranean climate, but the region is best known for Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay is also very successfully cultivated, and about 30% of the AVA’s acreage is planted to white grapes, with the majority of those grapes being Chardonnay,
Despite its popularity, this grape is quite rare. Less than 10,000 acres are planted worldwide, with the bulk in California. In France, the grape is referred to as Durif. Not to be confused with Syrah, Petite Sirah is a cross of Syrah and Peloursin. The result is darker and fuller.