In 1972 Ray Duncan and Justin Meyer founded Silver Oak Cellars with the idea of making only one varietal – Cabernet Sauvignon. Meyer was a winemaker for Christian Brothers and Duncan brought his business background to the enterprise, and the winery has over the years proved to be one of the most successful in the state. Critics and connoisseurs admire Silver Oak’s polished style, and more than 35 years after its founding the winery still makes only Cabernet Sauvignon, sometimes blended with small amounts of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The winery owns 200 acres of vineyards in Alexander Valley and 15 in Napa Valley. About 50,000 cases are produced each year. Justin Meyer sold his shares of the winery to the Duncan family in 2001, and a second generation of Duncans is fully involved with winery operations.
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.