Duckhorn Vineyards is a boutique winery in St. Helena, California, specializing in premium Merlot wines.
Founder Dan Duckhorn, a Santa Rosa native and Berkeley graduate, toured the Pomerol and Saint-Émilion in the Bordeaux region of France in the mid-1970s with Ric Forman, who as winemaker of Sterling Vineyards had introduced vintage-dated Merlot wine to California. He returned to California with his then-wife Margaret (the couple divorced in 2000) to promote a new market for Merlot. They founded Duckhorn Vineyards in 1976.
Production grew from 1,600 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in 1978 to more than 20,000 cases in 2006. Beginning in 1988, Duckhorn purchased seven estate vineyards on Howell Mountain and the valley floor, for a total of 168 acres (68.0 ha) in Napa Valley, and four vineyards totaling 153 acres (61.9 ha) in the Anderson Valley, Mendocino County.
In July, 2007, GI Partners, a private equity firm, purchased a controlling interest in Duckhorn Wine Company and with it Duckhorn's various brands and operations at a valuation believed to exceed $250 million.
Duckhorn Vineyards produces several single-vineyard Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons, as well as a highly regarded Sauvignon blanc. In 2005, the San Francisco Chronicle proclaimed Dan Duckhorn its "Winemaker of the Year" and named four of his wines to its list of "Top 100 Wines of 2005." In addition to Duckhorn, Duckhorn Wine Company also operates Goldeneye, a maker of Pinot noir in Anderson Valley, and Paraduxx, a blend of Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon made at a winery on the Silverado Trail between Yountville and Oakville, California. The company also labels under the names Decoy, Migration and Canvasback.
Some of Duckhorn's Napa Vineyards in the Pope Valley region are managed by Oscar Renteria.
JS: James Suckling
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RP: Robert Parker
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2011 Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
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