Duckhorn is the quintessential Napa experience. Just north of St. Helena off Silverado Trail, their Estate House opened in 2001 is surrounded by vineyards, the winery and garden. It’s downright idyllic.
While those newer to the brand may assume Duckhorn is a classic Cab house, initially it all started with Merlot.
A Northern California native, Dan Duckhorn got his MBA from UC Berkeley in 1962 and progressed through management positions in various industries until he ended up at a viticulture consulting company.
Inspired by a trip to France with winemaker Ric Forman, Dan wanted to produce truly exceptional, single varietal Merlot and went on to found the winery with his former wife, Margaret, in 1976.
During their first harvest in 1978, they produced 800 cases of the Three Palms Vineyard Merlot and 800 of Cabernet Sauvignon.
From there, it was onward and upward. In 1988 Dan started meticulously growing the company and began to diversify Duckhorn with new brands including Decoy, Paraduxx, Migration, Canvasback and Goldeneye.
What no one anticipated was how the 2005 movie called Sideways would affect the industry.
In the film, the main character preaches his love for Pinot Noir and disdain for Merlot, since it was his ex-wife’s favorite. And incredibly, Pinot Noir production in California skyrocketed 170%, while Merlot sales were down 2% for four years after the film’s release.
However the film is not entirely to blame. Due to over-planting in the 90s for increased demand, Merlot prices were already falling at the time, and recently has started to make a comeback again.
Throughout it all, Duckhorn has continued to produce one of the best Merlots in the world year after year. Wine Spectator even named their 2014 Three Palms Merlot the Wine of the Year in 2017.
Whether you love Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, Rosé or Pinot Noir, within the Duckhorn family there’s something for everyone.
Check out what we’ve got in-store today!
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