Co-founded by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn in 1976, Duckhorn Vineyards has spent forty years establishing itself as one of North America’s premier producers of Napa Valley wines. From its modest inaugural vintage of 800 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon and 800 cases of Merlot in 1978, to its addition of Sauvignon Blanc in 1982, Duckhorn Vineyards has crafted a tradition of quality and excellence that continues today.
Dan and Margaret Duckhorn found Duckhorn Vineyards, which becomes one of the first 40 Napa Valley wineries. They also purchase our original 10-acre property in beautiful St. Helena. Named Marlee’s Vineyard, after Margaret, this idyllic property will later become home to the beautiful Duckhorn Vineyards Estate House. Guided by Dan, Margaret, and our renowned founding winemaker Tom Rinaldi, Duckhorn Vineyards celebrates our inaugural harvest of Merlot from the now-legendary Three Palms Vineyard and Cabernet Sauvignon from Stag’s Leap District and Howell Mountain. Our first harvest yields 800 cases of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and 800 cases of Three Palms Vineyard Merlot.
Building on our role as the first American winery to pioneer luxury Merlot, we make our debut vintage of Napa Valley Merlot. This iconic wine plays a key role in establishing Merlot as one of North America’s great varietals. Alex Ryan begins working at Duckhorn Vineyards during summer vacations from high school. After university, Alex joins the winery fulltime and comes up through the ranks in the vineyards and production before ultimately becoming CEO and president.
Building on Dan and Margaret’s early passion for Bordeaux-varietal wines, and their desire to make an elegant and enticing white wine, Duckhorn Vineyards produces our first vintage of Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc using grapes from Marlee’s Vineyard, and a handful of other top winegrowing sites.
Recognizing that the great emerging Napa Valley mountain vineyards are producing wines of exceptional character and quality, we produce our first Howell Mountain appellation-designated wine. After 20 years of only being open for by-appointment tastings, we break ground on our Duckhorn Vineyards Estate House and Tasting Room adjacent to Marlee’s Vineyard in St. Helena.