With over 800 acres of vines, our vineyard is one of the largest in the Napa Valley. We produce a wide variety of premium red wines and a small amount of white wine, all made by hand. We use only estate-grown fruit, and we are committed to making only small amounts of wine. Our wines are made for discerning wine lovers who appreciate unique, outstanding vintages.
Montgomery Vineyard is one of the oldest vineyards in the Napa Valley, established in 1867. The vineyard, which is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and is named after the Napa Valley’s first pioneer, is grown in the springtime. The grapes are harvested, crushed in a cement tank, fermented, and pressed using a two-ton press. Cabernet Sauvignon in particular is a high alcohol, full-bodied wine that is known for its rich, deep red color and intense, rich fruit flavors.Montgomery Vineyard. In the late 1970s, owners Bob and Val Montgomery were visiting friends in San Francisco when they suggested visiting Napa Valley. That was their first visit; Bob and Valerie then returned to the valley on their own and in 1978 discovered an owner’s sign for sale at the far north end of the valley, close to the Sonoma County border, just off Route 128. On a whim, they made an offer that year; it was one of three, and not the highest. However, owner Alex Miltrovic (who founded Alex’s Fine Foods in Calistoga in 1952) and his wife Ann fell in love with Bob and Val (even naming Bob after his long lost Yugoslavian son, although Bob was not from that part of Europe) and eventually decided to sell them to Montgomery.
Bob was born in Pennsylvania (his father worked in the coal mines); after law school, he applied to various cities around the country and eventually got a job at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Los Angeles, where, he recalls, he was one of 67 lawyers on the team at the time. When he retired as a senior partner of the firm some 40 years later, he recalled that the firm had grown significantly to more than 1,300 lawyers.
When they bought this house, they originally wanted to take a break from their hectic lives. Because Bob worked in a law firm, he traveled often, and especially after long international trips, he and Val always looked forward to their property in Calistoga, a place where they could relax, as he called it. Bob didn’t drink wine in his family growing up – he wasn’t introduced to wine until later, at dinners and work-related events.
After owning the estate, he and Val began spending more time in the Napa Valley and getting to know local winemakers, including Luis Martini and Robert Mondavi, in a square-dancing group of which Bob and Val were members. Not only were they residents of the valley, but through Bob’s work they got to know a number of winemakers and future winemakers. While representing one of his clients, A-M Homes of Southern California, he met A-M co-founder Bart Araujo and invited him to attend some of Napa Valley Vintner’s first wine auctions. Bart was seduced by the Napa Valley lifestyle on those first visits. After selling A-M Homes, he and his wife Daphne founded Araujo Cellars and much later Wheeler Farms.
Montgomery Manor is in a quiet location in the hills, with its own small valley and a very picturesque lake at the back of the property. Although the property is adjacent to Route 128, it is far from the much busier southern part of the Napa Valley. The property covers 50 acres and has never been planted with grapes, although some of the land was once used to grow hay. After owning the vineyard for more than 25 years without ever using it for wine production, Pina Vineyard Management Company planted about 2.5 acres of vines on the property in 2003/2004 – primarily several clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as a small block of Petit Verdot (which is bottled as its own wine each year). Over the years, the grapes have been sold to prestigious winemakers and wineries, including Duckhorn, Paul Hobbs, David Ramey and now Lewis Cellars.
Besides grapes they grow three types of ripe Tuscan olive trees and produce a very limited amount of olive oil.
Their first wine deliveries from the site, from 2007 to 2009, were for friends and family – and to convince themselves of the quality of their site. It was Françoise Péchon, then the winemaker of the Araujo estate, who brought in these first harvests. 2010 was their first commercial release. Winemaker Robbie Meyer (formerly of Peter Michael and Lewis Cellars) has been producing their wine every year since the 2010 vintage. It is interesting to note that Bob and Val met Robbie Meyer in Santa Barbara, at a party celebrating the first launch of Vogelzang Vineyard, located in Santa Ynez. They remembered being impressed by his energy and knowledge of wine at the time, and turned to him when they were ready to produce wine on their own property.
In 2017, the infamous Tubbs Fire (which started nearby and eventually reached Santa Rosa, 30 minutes to the west) raced through their property, destroying a guest house, several water pump stations, a barn, and a detached garage. What is remarkable, and what Bob calls a miracle, is that the fire burned the side of their main house, but did not burn it to the ground – instead, it burned almost the entire exterior of the house.
Prior to the 2020 harvest, their sauvignon blanc was produced at Ryan’s Vineyard’s famed Oak Knoll Vineyard, where two clones of the variety, SB1 and Musqué, were used. The site is a popular source of Sauvignon Blanc for a number of high-end producers, including Accendo Cellars and Matthiasson. Block 5 (just over an acre) of the Montgomery vineyard, on the other hand, was field grafted from Cabernet Sauvignon to Sauvignon Blanc – again using the same clones.
The very first bottling of sauvignon blanc will take place in 2021 – from now on all production will take place on the estate. One of the first Sauvignon Blancs Bob really liked was from Spottswood – and he wanted the wine to mimic Spottswood’s style to some extent.
The 2017 Montgomery Vineyard Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc (Ryan’s Vineyard) is medium yellow in color with sweet floral aromas that include notes of citrus blossom and honeysuckle as the wine opens up more. The taste is round, but not creamy, with citrus aromas of tangerine, red apple and a hint of lime. The finish is brilliant, but without astringency. A wonderfully balanced wine that is great to drink alone. California style – brings out the ripeness and elegance, but not the green.
The 2016 Montgomery Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is medium to dark ruby in color; the nose shows some ripeness, but also elegance. This balance is reflected in the aromas, including berry notes (blackberries and raspberries). Slightly spicy, with notes of cedar and spicy components, including nutmeg. Extremely well balanced taste and a very affordable price. The tannins are slightly dusty, subtly reminiscent of chalk and well integrated on the finish. The notes of red cherry and hints of cedar and vanilla are persistent – the oak complements rather than detracts from this wine.
The 2013 Montgomery Vineyard Petit Verdot has a dark ruby color; upon opening, aromas of mushrooms, forest floor and cedar with hints of dried herbs are immediately evident. A little spicy – a little pagan at times. This wine needs time to breathe, and when it does, the fruit begins to show. Reaches a nice aromatic plateau after about 30 minutes – with multiple layers, including blackberry and plum notes. Very complex, both in terms of bouquet and taste. A little spicy on the finish, with structured tannins with some density but no heavy grip – persistent with cedar notes and a hint of white pepper. We tasted this wine 7 years after harvest – it still has plenty of life and energy, perhaps it hasn’t reached its peak yet. A little Cabernet Sauvignon is always added to this wine.
Montgomery Vineyard makes wines that Bob and Val love – wines that are a bit older, balanced, elegant and approachable in their youth. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot are aged in barrels for about two years and then in bottles for another two years before release. Total production has not changed much since the first harvest – about 500 cases of each of the three wines are produced.
Although some of their wines have been available in some local restaurants in the past, their wines are largely sold directly to consumers through their mailing list. For more information and to sign up for the newsletter, please visit: www.montgomeryvineyard.com.
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