Bond is an Oakville, California, winery that makes widely acclaimed single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons based on an unusual business model. Founded in the late 1990s by H. William Harlan, who in 1984 founded Harlan Estate, Bond uses grapes from five vineyards that Harlan does not own. The winery refers to its offerings as “a portfolio of wines that are diverse in their geographic representation…” The name Bond was selected to highlight the “bond” between Harlan, his winemaking team, which includes his longtime associate Robert Levy, director of winegrowing, and the independent growers who supply the grapes. Each of the “grand crus,” as Harlan calls his Bond wines, has been given a proprietary name, such as Vecina and Melbury, meaning that although the goal is to make Cabernet Sauvignons using only single vineyard grapes, Bond reserves the right to blend if necessary. Besides the “grand crus” Bond makes Matriarch, a second wine. The vineyards Bond leases are 7 to 10 acres each.
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,