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Walnut Creek Magazine

Napa's New Cathiard Vineyard Boasts Pedigree

Mar 31, 2023 09:12AM ● By Fran Miller

After purchasing Bordeaux winery Smith Haut Lafitte in 1990, Florence and Daniel Cathiard set their sights on the Napa Valley. “We had spent some time in Napa and had a far-off dream of one day owning an estate there,” said Florence, a native of Provence. “This dream sat on the back burner for a long time until an old contact called with an idea: there was an estate in Napa Valley we could consider, which had many similarities to Smith Haut Lafitte.” 

Florence and Daniel Cathiard, photo by Luc Plissoneau

The duo purchased their historic Napa estate in 2020, and officially opened the doors this year. Situated in Rutherford and St. Helena at the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains, Cathiard Vineyard features 60 acres of estate vineyards, several blocks of which are organic and biodynamic, as well as a new winery and a refurbished horseshoe cellar in the heart of the mountain. In development is an on-site cooperage, an important signature of the Cathiard family. The winery’s tasting boutique offers on-site experiences featuring Cathiard Vineyard’s new range of limited-production wines. 

“The property enjoys a long history, which was part of the appeal,” said Florence. “Long ago the Rennie Brothers planted the vineyards and built their stone gravity flow winery; one of our wines, “Founding Brothers,” a Cabernet-based blend, pays tribute to them. These previous vintners cultivated this land for more than a century before us, and we are grateful to carry the torch forward.”


Cathiard Vineyard’s flagship wine is a Cabernet Sauvignon from the estate’s oldest hillside vineyards. The range also includes an additional Cabernet-based blend, Hora, as well as additional exclusive offerings for members. The Cathiard Vineyard team includes Winemakers Justine Labbé and Ryan Montgomery, agricultural engineers and oenologists, as well as Hospitality Lead Candice Bernard Cathiard who oversees on-site experiences and the membership program. 


Florence and Daniel were attracted to the Napa property’s biodiversity; just as at Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Grand Cru Classé of Pessac-Léognan, and its 78-hectare estate, they felt a profound connection to the land. “The Napa terroir is incredible,” said Florence. “We fell in love with the property’s biodiversity, and felt compelled to bring our love of nature and art de vivre here.” 

The couple, who long ago met as members of the French national ski team, currently live at their Château Smith Haut Lafitte residence, but plan to take extended trips a few times annually to oversee things at Cathiard Vineyard. “We love the Napa community and the warm welcome we received,” said Florence. “It's something we felt many years ago when we first visited, and it continues.” 

Photos courtesy of Cathiard Vineyard


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