In 1968 the perfect spot to grow Cabernet Sauvignon was located in the Southwest corner of the Napa Valley right along Dry Creek. This area is now designated the Oak Knoll AVA (American Viticultural Area), and is one of the most diverse growing regions in the Napa Valley. It has a perfect convergence of growing conditions, the mildest climate in the Napa Valley, alluvial fan soils that provide the right balance of nutrients and stress, and the longest growing season, about 8 months, that results in full and complex flavor development in the grapes.
The land was home to a walnut orchard but had all the right characteristics to make world-class wines. The orchard was purchased, the walnut trees torn out, and vines were planted on St. George rootstock. As the vines grew and gained strength and maturity, a portion of the grapes were sold to Robert Mondavi Winery, Clos du Val Winery, and Inglenook Winery from 1970 through 2002 and consistently ended up in their reserve wines.
In 1995, the vineyards began to show the effects of phyloxera, a microscopic aphid that lives on and eats the roots of grape vines, and needed to be replanted on different, phyloxera-resistant rootstock. Robert Mondavi so loved the grapes from this vineyard that, at his expense, he offered his crew to assess the vineyard and help establish a replanting plan that would include the most appropriate rootstocks for the soils and the best Cabernet Sauvignon clones for the wine.
In 1997, the first sections of the vineyard were replanted on 101-14 rootstock for Cabernet Sauvignon clone 337 and 15 and 1103P rootstock for clone 8. The following year the remaining sections were replanted on 3309 rootstock for clones 15, 4 and 337. These vineyards are still vigorous and are consistently producing the highest quality grapes year in and year out.