Duckhorn Wine Company has purchased Napa Valley’s Three Palms Vineyard.
Duckhorn Vineyards had long made wines from grapes acquired from Three Palms Vineyard, dating back to an inaugural merlot in 1978. “This iconic wine helped to pioneer luxury Merlot in California, and played a pivotal role in establishing it as one of North America’s great premium varietals,” said a Duckhorn Vineyards press release.
“We released that inaugural vintage at the then high price of $12.50, because we wanted people to understand that it was a Merlot of exceptional quality,” added Duckhorn Wine Company Founder and Chairman Dan Duckhorn. “This message connected with people.”
Three Palms was purchased from Sloan and John Upton for an undisclosed price.
Duckhorn Wine Company has been purchasing all of the grapes from the 83-acre Three Palms Vineyard since 2011. Fruit from Three Palms will continue to be used exclusively in Duckhorn Vineyards wines.
“This is a very special day for us,” said Duckhorn. “Not only has the Duckhorn Vineyards story always been tied to the story of Three Palms, our long friendship with Sloan and John has been one of the wine industry’s most successful and enduring partnerships.”
In 1967, Three Palms Vineyard was acquired by the Uptons, who planted it the following year. In the late 1800s, the property was owned by San Francisco socialite Lillie Coit (Coit Tower), who planted the site’s three landmark palm trees.
The vineyard has sparse, bale loam soils, according to the press release. In many spots, the vines’ roots dig as deep as 18 feet. Because of the rocky, challenging soils, the vineyard is planted to only 545 vines per acre.
Three Palms is also covered by volcanic stones, which absorb the sun’s heat during the day and radiate the heat back to the vines at night, protecting against frost and helping to ripen the fruit, according to a press release. In addition, the vineyard’s warm up-valley location contributes to a shorter season.
Of Three Palms’ 83 total acres, 73 are under vine, with approximately 50 acres planted to Merlot, and the rest planted to smaller amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.
The average vine age at Three Palms Vineyard is roughly 20 years, with the most recent plantings in 1999.
With the acquisition of Three Palms Vineyard, Duckhorn Wine Company’s Napa Valley estate program now includes seven vineyards. These vineyards include both mountain and valley floor sites, for a total of 223 planted acres.