Realm Cellars is one of the most exciting stories in Napa Valley today. Realm began in 2002 by sourcing fruit from top vineyards like Beckstoffer To Kalon and Dr. Crane. Like any entrepreneurial endeavor, the early years were full of ups and downs, but eventually the winery found its stride. Beginning with the 2012 vintage, wine quality significantly improved and they have since garnered 17 100-point scores from various wine critics. In 2015, Realm acquired a hillside estate in the Stags Leap District which transformed the brand from a virtual winery to a domaine. The first estate wine in the portfolio is called Moonracer and each bottle showcases a unique label. In 2018 Realm entered into a partnership with the Farella family which adds the Farella Vineyard in Coombsville as the second estate vineyard. The portfolio of wines includes both single vineyards as well as proprietary blends. The winery is led by owner Scott Becker and winemaker Benoit Touquette. This domaine is one to watch as Realm continues its ascent into the top echelon of the wine world.
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,