The Hess Collection Winery was founded in 1985 when Swiss entrepreneur Donald Hess bought 500 acres of land on Mount Veeder, in Napa Valley. The winery now owns 725 acres in various parts of Napa Valley and in Monterey. About two-thirds of the estate’s vineyards are planted to Chardonnay, and Hess is known for its consistently excellent Chardonnays. The estate also grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc and small amounts of other white wine grapes. Of special note is the estate’s collection of contemporary art, which is located at the Mount Veeder estate and is open to the public. Hess Family Estates also owns wineries in Argentina, South Africa and Australia.
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,
One of the most widely grown grape varieties, it can be found in nearly every wine growing region. A cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a hardy vine that produces a full-bodied wine with high tannins and great aging potential.