The Oakville Farmhouse vineyard was originally planted by the Delazer family in the early 1920s. The two acre block is representative of Napa Valley vineyards of that era and is planted to nine different red wine grapes. The vines are planted on phylloxera-resistant St. George rootstock, are head-trained, and are not irrigated. The vineyard is situated in the Oakville bench, at the base of the western foothills, and has Bale loam soils. The soil is well-drained and alluvial, giving it sufficient water-holding capacity for dry-farming. While the vines were likely irrigated for a few years at initial planting, the vines have seen no artificial irrigation for over 90 years.
Our mother, Ellis Kirkham, fell in love with the Oakville countryside and purchased the vineyard in 1955, intending to use it as a summer refuge from foggy San Francisco. At the time Oakville vineyards were a rarity. The district was dotted with prune trees and cow pastures. Over the years expensive vineyards were developed and, with the exception of the 1945 Sauvignon Blanc vines in the neighboring To Kalon I-Block, all of the historic vineyards in the
district were replanted to Cabernet Sauvignon. Today Ellis’ Oakville Farmhouse vineyard is a relic – the last remaining historic planting in Oakville and the only opportunity to taste the original Napa Valley.
In 1992, we used cuttings to plant a similar block in our St Helena vineyard. At the time, DNA testing was not yet available and most of the Farmhouse vines were unidentified. With the original planting nearing it’s 100th year, we felt the need to preserve this historic representation of old Napa.
Our 2011 Premiere lot was created in honor of our mother’s 100th Birthday and marks the first time we have made a blend from these two historic vineyards. We would like to thank and congratulate CalWine of Napa, for their winning bid on Lot #39.
Napa Valley Vintners – Press Release
“The Napa Valley Vintners’ (NVV) annual wine futures auction to the trade held February 26 in the Napa Valley, broke records finishing at nearly $2.4 million in sales. At 1,000-strong, the crowd of vintners along with retailers, restaurateurs, distributors, brokers and media from across the country and around the world, assembled at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St Helena topped last year’s take by more than 23% during the three-hour live auction.” – Napa Valley Vintners
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