Founded in 1900 by Georges de Latour, a native of France, and led for many years by the legendary winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff, Beaulieu Vineyard has one of the oldest and most romantic histories in the Napa Valley. De Latour bought his first vineyard in Rutherford and named it “beau lieu,” French for "beautiful place.” His vision was to create a serene wine chateau and the estate is still one of the most scenic in the region. Beaulieu’s Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon dates back to the 1930s, and it quickly became one of California’s premier wines. Tchelistcheff, trained as a wine master in France, shaped the character of BV’s wines during the 1950s and 1960s. Today the winery is still famous for its BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve, but also makes Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel, thanks in part to the acquisition of vineyards in other parts of Napa Valley. Altogether the winery owns 1,029 acres and produces a total of 750,000 bottles a year.
Rutherford AVA is just north of the Oakville AVA in the heart of Napa Valley, and it is equally distinguished. It is home to Beaulieu Vineyard and inglenook, arguably Napa Valley’s most historically influential wineries. Inglenook started making in wine in the late 19th century, and Beaulieu Vineyards was producing by the first years of the 20th century. BV founder Georges de Latour is particularly esteemed for having recruited Andre Tchelistcheff, a renowned research oenologist, to move from France to Napa Valley in 1938 and run BV’s winemaking. The legendary Tchelistcheff brought European winemaking techniques to Napa Valley and vastly improved wine quality. Other Rutherford winemakers followed his lead. Today there are 5,000 vineyard acres in Rutherford and many acclaimed producers. The famous Silverado Trail with its exclusive, limited production wineries, runs partly through Rutherford AVA. Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignons are characterized by supple tannins, richness, notes of cherry and plum, depth and the ability to age for several decades. Besides Cabernet Sauvignon the AVA also grows Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel. It received its AVA designation in 1994.
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.