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Walnut Creek Magazine

A Napa Hidden Gem: Oakville Ranch

Aug 13, 2018 01:22PM ● By Fran Miller

BY FRAN ENDICOTT MILLER

There aren’t too many “finds” left in the Napa Valley. Wine-loving crowds, anxious to uncover the next great label or the latest tasting experience, have largely unearthed all of the wonders of Napa’s vinicultural world. But somehow, Oakville Ranch has managed to continue its flight under the radar. 

This spectacular 330-acre winery property in the prestigious Oakville district is situated at 1,400 feet above the valley floor with unparalleled views in all directions. Most of the highly sought-after grapes (about 90%) grown in its 66 acres of vineyards are sold to high-end boutique wineries, the vintners of which proudly state their wine’s provenance with an Oakville Ranch bottle shout-out. They know just how lucky they are to claim the product of the appellation’s signature red volcanic soils. The estate’s remaining grapes are bottled in small quantities under Oakville Ranch’s own label. Their Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and ‘Field Blend’ are spectacularly delicious and illustrative of their unique terroir. 

Vineyard manager Phil Coturri, (above) a legend in the world of organic farming, brings four decades of experience to Oakville Ranch, which he calls one of the regions extraordinary places. Winemaker Jennifer Rue works hand-in-hand with Coturri with a goal of presenting the thinnest veneer between place and palate - possible only through a deep intimate knowledge of the vineyard and respectful minimal manipulation in the winery. Rue and Coturri employ a holistic approach in their certified organic vineyards, building and enriching the earth for the long term, cultivating vines that produce fruit of the highest quality. 

This Oakville Ranch property was purchased in 1989 by Mary Miner and her late husband Robert – co-founder of Oracle. Most of the ranch remains as it did when the Miners first bought it, with grassy meadows, native woodlands, and streams that sustain native flora and fauna. Seven grape varietals grow within the 75 vineyard acres that occupy less than a quarter of the mountainside estate. The definitely-not-your-run-of-the-mill-winery tours and tastings (by appointment only, Monday through Friday) include an open ATV ride into the hills and through these vineyards where hawks soar overhead and wildlife is often spotted, followed by a pool-with-a-million-dollar-view adjacent terrace tasting. $45 per person; the tasting fee is waived with the purchase of six bottles.

To make a tasting appointment, call 707.944.9665 or email info@oakvilleranch.com.