Wild Horse Valley
Looking for a hidden gem? With only 100 acres of vines planted and having the coolest climate in all of Napa, Wild Horse Valley is the perfect place for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
This wild area has most of its area dedicated to nature reserves and other types of farming, however, there are a few vineyards planted on quartz and granite soils, which makes this place unique.
Wild Horse Valley wines to know
With such a small amount of acres under vine, there are few varieties here. But the combination of the cooling influence of San Pablo Bay and elevation of 1200-1400 ft. make Wild Horse Valley the coolest AVA in Napa, even cooler than Los Carneros - the perfect place for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The quartz and granite soils, paired with the cooling influences, creates wines with an intense mineral expression, and high levels of fresh acidity.
Whilst there are very few wineries in this region, the fruit is so highly prized that it is often used as an important blending component in other Napa Valley wines.
Notable Vineyards and Wineries in Wild Horse Valley
Olivia Brion Vineyards – The only winery in this region. They were the ones to apply for the region to be recognized as an AVA in the late 1980s.
Heron Lake Vineyard – This is a prized location for sourcing high-quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. It's often featured in other producer's wines.
Enfield Wine Co. – Sourcing Chardonnay from Heron Lake vineyard and has created a skin contact (orange) wine - only 75 cases are produced.
Kenzo Estate – A hidden discovery that's just outside of the appellation (but in the same valley) is of one of Napa's largest estates with 3,800 acres of stunning landscape and 125 acres of vineyards. The proprietor, Kenzo, is a Japanese entrepreneur whose company was most famous for making Mega Man, Street Fighter, and Resident Evil.
Wild Horse Valley AVA Terroir
This relatively unknown gem of a valley is super cool, in both senses of the word. It has a unique combination of cooling breezes blowing in from the cold bay and elevations of 1200 - 1400 ft. It’s nestled in the Vaca Mountains which give it its elevation. This combination means that the diurnal shift can be extreme, leading to floral aromas in the wines and the retention of high levels of acidity - the result is fresh, complex, ageworthy Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Wild Horse Valley AVA Facts
- Wild Horse Valley AVA is 3300 acres with just under 100 acres of planted vine.
- Wild Horse Valley AVA straddles both Napa and Solano Counties.
- The AVA was established in 1988, the 3rd sub-AVA in Napa.
- Soils in Wild Horse Valley are generally volcanic throughout.
- Due to elevation and proximity to San Pablo Bay, Wild Horse Valley is the coolest of all the Napa Valley AVAs.