Pride Mountain Vineyards was founded in 1991 by Jim and Carolyn Pride on a
site once known as Summit Winery. Both Jim and Carolyn were native
Californians from long-time farming families, so it wasn’t too big a
leap for Jim to scale back his dentistry career to start making wine in
the Spring Mountain District of Napa Valley. Jim Pride died in 2004, but
the Pride children, Steve Pride and Suzanne Pride Bryan, now own and run the winery, which is
considered one of the notable stars of the Napa Valley. Carolyn Pride also remains active at the winery. The property consists of 235 acres, 183 of which
are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot,
Syrah, Sangiovese, Viognier and Chardonnay. The Pride Cabernet Sauvignon
Reserve and Reserve Claret are especially renowned, earning high marks from
reviewers and collectors. About 18,000 cases are produced annually.
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,
The Merlot grape is such a deep blue that it is named for the blackbird. It’s an early ripening grape and one of the primary varietals used In Bordeaux. Merlot is also grown in the "International style," which is harvested later to bring out more tannins and body.