Food & Wine, News

Behind the Vines: Duckhorn Vineyards

November 29, 2016

Duckhorn Vineyards is in the quaint and charming village of St. Helena. On a mosaic lane that has a beautiful garden and a waterfowl collection. This crevice of the valley is simply lustrous and majestic to visit anytime of the year; and Duckhorn Vineyards, delectable wines to sip anytime of the year. All of exquisite tastings are set in a traditionally designed Estate House. The place to sip, swirl and indulge. Have a new experience, soaking-in Napa Valley’s profound culture.

“This winery was built on the belief that great wines begin in the vineyard.” – Dan Duckhorn, Co-founder

Dan and Margaret Duckhorn formed Duckhorn Vineyards in 1976, and has since become one of the premier producers of Napa Valley wines. It stemmed from modest begins with an inaugural vintage of 800 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon and 800 cases of Merlot in 1978. Then the addition of Sauvignon Blanc in 1982. Duckhorn Vineyards has always been, and always will be a tradition of quality and excellent, selecting only the finest fruit.

“For nearly four decades, the commitment to crafting wines of distinction has remained at the heart of the Duckhorn Vineyards philosophy.” -Renée Ary, Winemaker

All of Duckhorn wines reflect the unique character of the vineyards, harvesting flavors that have reached their peak, tannins at their softest. Wines that are approachable, pure and fruit-forward. Duckhorn Vineyards has truly created a selection of varietals that harmonize with any meal or occasion.

“I liked the softness, the seductiveness, the color, the fact that it went with a lot of different foods; It seemed to me to be a wonderful wine to just enjoy. I became enchanted with Merlot.” – Dan Duckhorn, Co-founder

Highlighting one of our favorite varietals available at Duckhorn Vineyards, Merlot,  there is a lot of charm and sophistication in each one of the releases. We gravitate toward the 2013 Duckhorn Vineyards Atlas Peak Napa Valley Merlot.  It’s lovely on nose, soft finish with aromas of wild spices. Interesting fact, Atlas Peak’s temperatures are much cooler than the overall valley floor. Sometimes as much as ten degrees cooler. This cool and foggy setting delivers exceptional Merlot that’s evenly ripened. We like sipping this vintage in particular because it’s smooth, the tannins are low and the berries are beautifully concentrated.

“We strive to elevate that standard with each ensuing vintage.” – Renée Ary, Winemaker

The great thing about Duckhorn’s wines is that every bottle is an all-around charmer. Sheer silkiness that will amplify any fare. A delicious bottle of white wine always pours well, especially when friends and family come to visit. Duckhorn Vineyards has the perfect Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay for every season, enjoyable to sip on by itself or pair with meals.

The 2015 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc is luscious with fragrant notes that accompany tart treats. While the acidity in the tropical flavors sidle alongside decadent desserts. There is also a nuanced minerality that holds well as a palate cleanser between courses. A versatile and comfortable wine for any home. We also crave the lush texture and sweet aromas of vanilla and chair in the 2014 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Chardonnay. It’s an elegant vintage, crafted in an ideal concentration. Wonderful when paired with a cheese assortment and charcuterie.

For more information on visiting Duckhorn Vineyards and partaking in their Wine Tasting Experience, check-out their website.  They also have a wine club with superb benefits and current releases available for purchase.


The wine industry: It’s part farming, part chemistry, part branding, and entirely art. Producing and selling wine is a process we think we know, but beyond the glass lies the real story of a winery and its winemakers.  The Napa Valley Film Festival team is proud to share the inspirational behind-the-vines stories we’ve had the pleasure of learning from our Vintner Circle members with you. 

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