29 Estate ·Vineyard
The Vineyard 29 ‘29 Estate’ vineyard is just north of the town of St. Helena. We are located on an eastern facing slope at the base of the Mayacamas mountain range that forms the western boundary of the Napa Valley.
Planted in 1989, on the lower slopes of the vineyard site, the original blocks of cabernet sauvignon at Vineyard 29 are almost 2.75 acres of Grace Clone bud wood on 5C and 1103P rootstock. In 2000, the 29 Estate plantings were expanded to include 1.25 acres of cabernet franc clone 332 on 101-14 and 3309 rootstock. Additionally, just over half an acre of sauvignon blanc was planted in 2000, with field selections on 420A rootstock.
Our hillside vineyard rests on soil formed from river deposits from the flow of the Napa River many thousands of years ago. The remnants of that water flow have created a gravelly, loamy texture in the present day soil. The soil depth varies from 2 feet at the higher vineyard elevations, to 5 feet on the lower elevations. The quantity and size of sediments vary along the vineyard with larger rocks found on the higher elevation, gradually decreasing in size toward the lower portion of the site. The rocks and gravels allowed for good aeration of the ground helping the roots to follow empty spaces through the soils, allowing them to reach deeper into the earth and thus adding to the vines strength and ability to mature gracefully, weathering climate changes from vintage to vintage.
Facing eastward along the lower elevation of the Mayacamas mountain range, Vineyard 29 is ideally situated to capture early morning sunlight. Late in the day, when sunlight is more intense, the upper elevations of the mountain range provide shade for the vineyard allowing the grapes an afternoon respite, resulting in growing seasons where the grapes reach optimal ripeness without the risk of desiccation by too much sun exposure. The orientation of the land, rolling gently along Highway 29 before rising sharply against the eastern face of the Mayacamas mountain range allows textbook drainage, creating the perfect amount of vine stress to yield highly concentrated fruit.
St. Helena experiences a very warm growing season. While Vineyard 29 receives a large number of overall hours of heat each day, its most direct exposure to the sun comes early in the morning when the heat is less intense. Afternoon sunlight falls indirectly on the vineyard, allowing for a slightly cooler afternoon temperatures. The vineyard also sees the widest range of day to night time temperature swings in Napa Valley (over 40 degress in August) setting up the fruit well each morning to withstand the afternoon heat. The result is even and consistent ripening of the fruit. This translates into a rounder, smoother tannin structure from fully ripened skins, and an increased amount of sugar in relation to acid in each berry.