David Abreu was born and raised in Napa Valley, where his family has been involved in farming for three generations. As a teenager he worked summers at Inglenook and Caymus vineyards and soon became one of the valley’s most respected viticulturalists. In 1980 he planted his own Madrona Ranch vineyard located west of St. Helena. He produced his first wine in 1986 with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc from the Madrona Ranch vineyard. His first commercial release from Abreu Vineyard, as he has called his winery, was the 1987 Abreu Madrona Ranch. Today Abreu owns about 60 acres of vineyards though wines currently come from only two, Madrona Ranch and Thorevilos. He grows Merlot and Petit Verdot along with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Known as a perfectionist when it comes to growing grapes and maintaining vineyards, Abreu’s wines are also among the most acclaimed coming out of California. He produces fewer than 10,000 bottles a year.
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,