Oak Knoll AVA is one of Napa Valley’s newest appellations, having received that status in 2004. Located on the southern end of Napa Valley, the appellation is close to San Pablo Bay and therefore relatively cool. Of the 8,300 acres within the appellation, 4,150 are vineyards. The principal grapes grown are Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Riesling. Locals like to call Oak Knoll “the sweet spot” thanks to its location between the San Pablo Bay and its maritime climate and the much hotter climate of Napa Valley’s floor.
The Merlot grape is such a deep blue that it is named for the blackbird. It’s an early ripening grape and one of the primary varietals used In Bordeaux. Merlot is also grown in the "International style," which is harvested later to bring out more tannins and body.