Michael and Arlene Bernstein were the first to plant grapevines on Mount Veeder in 1970. When 59 of their original Cabernet cuttings took root and flourished, they knew they were on to something. Encouraged by their friend and Napa legend Robert Mondavi, the Bernsteins established the first winery on Mount Veeder.
At the time, the Mount Veeder American Viticultural Area (AVA) did not exist. Undaunted, Michael and Arlene became the driving force behind its establishment. They later made history as the first vintners in Napa Valley to plant Petit Verdot, and the first to plant all five of the classic Bordeaux varieties on the same property.
Today, Mount Veeder Winery has three vineyard ranches nestled high in the Mayacamas Mountains, producing powerfully flavorful, concentrated wines that express their unique mountain terroir. Resembling a giant staircase, Mount Veeder’s vines are planted on wide terraces of earth cut into steep slopes. At elevations of 1,000 to 1,600 feet, the microclimate is very different from the Napa Valley floor. Above the fog bank, exposed to the gentle morning sun and protected from the afternoon heat by the surrounding mountains, grapes on these vines ripen slowly and evenly. And in autumn, the mountain’s cool days and warm nights mean extra hang time.
Their three ranches on Mount Veeder bask in the clear mountain sunshine high above Napa Valley. Estate ranches range in altitude from 1,000 to 1,600 feet in elevation to provide diverse microclimates for a wide variety of growing conditions and fruit profiles. All of the key Bordeaux grapes prosper, keeping with the tradition of being the first vineyard in California planted to all five Bordeaux varieties.
Mount Veeder vines speak a language all their own. The Bernsteins’ belief that becoming fluent in that language, and fully understanding all its subtleties and nuance, is key to making great wine from mountain vineyards.