Hendry is a 114- acre estate in the hills to the northwest of Napa. The vineyards were first cultivated in the mid-19th century, and in 1939 George W. and Margaret Hendry purchased the vineyards and moved their family to Napa. George was an agronomy professor at the University of California and had a deep interest in agriculture and crops of all kinds. His son George O. Hendry became an engineer but continued to work the ranch. For many decades the family sold their grapes to such producers as Robert Mondavi but in 1992 the Hendrys produced their first commercial wines. Today a new generation of Hendrys continue to grow grapes and make wines, and in 2000 the family built a winery. Hendry makes a broad range of varietals, including Albarino, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Primitivo, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Hendry wines generally earn ratings in the low to mid 90s from reviewers.
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,
Zinfandel is a black-skinned grape, but 85% of the wine produced is made into a rosy “White Zinfandel.” Red Zin is far more complex and bold, while still being light-bodied. It grows in popularity as winemakers continue to experiment with new styles and blends.