Courtesy of Marla Bleecher, Co-Owner
In the 1980s, we moved from the Bay Area to Calistoga after we purchased a small ranch in Jericho Canyon at the base of Mt. St. Helena. It took less than a minute to know that this ranch was what we had been looking for the previous three years: it had a creek filled with tadpoles and water skeeters, a 100 year old farm house, a pond shaded by gorgeous oak trees, a stupendous view of the Palisades and Mt. St. Helena, and meadows dotted with wild flowers. We knew without a doubt that this was the place to raise our children.
Originally given in a land grant to a veteran of the Civil War as payment for his services, the ranch is situated along the road to the old the Silverado Mine, a spot made famous by Robert Lewis Stevenson in his book Silverado Squatters. The property had been used as a cattle ranch since the 1930s, but it showed evidence of a pre-Prohibition vineyard alongside of Jericho Creek. We replanted the old vineyard and extended it up the canyon, terracing extensively due to the steepness of the terrain. With the terraces following the contours of the land, it is reminiscent of an Old World style vineyard.
We planted Cabernet Sauvignon in 1990 and Merlot and Cabernet Franc in 1993. In the early years, we sold our fruit to a variety of wineries including Chateau Montelena, Sterling Vineyards, and Clos du Val. It was not until 1998, however, that we were finally confident we were producing the highest quality fruit. We began selling our grapes to Rudd Estate, which produced a vineyard designate wine that was very well received by the critics (Robert Parker: Rudd Jericho Canyon Vineyard 1998 – 95, 1999 – 92, 2000 – (90-92).
From 2001-2005 our fruit went to Ramey Wine Cellars, which produced a much sought after vineyard designate wine – Ramey Wine Cellars Jericho Canyon Vineyard. Winemaker David Ramey also produced an ultra premium wine for our own label, Jericho Canyon Vineyard. Again, the wine received exceptional reviews (please see our reviews page).
The 2006 harvest was an historic one for us: we completed our winery in the center of our vineyard and produced our first Estate wines. With winemakers Robbie Meyer and Jade Barrett only steps away in the winery, we are all able to keep a watchful eye on the vineyard as we wait for optimal grape development. Once harvested, the fruit takes the short trip to the winery where we carefully and attentively process each small lot.
Following the 2006 harvest, we removed the majority of our Merlot and Cabernet Franc, and we began replanting by adding a variety of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc clones. In addition, we added Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Syrah. Field budded in the spring of 2008, these plants should produce quality fruit in 2010.
Click here to learn more about and to buy Jericho Canyon Vineyard’s “Jericho Creek Block” Cabernet Sauvignon. Sip, Save and Give today.