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Opus One wins expansion approval - Opus One winery convinced county Planning Commissioners on Wednesday that its success warrants doubling wine production and making other changes, despite some public concerns about cumulative impacts.

“I think it is a well-designed change for this winery that is minimally impactful,” Commissioner Michael Basayne said before the commission granted unanimous approval.

Wine legends Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild founded Opus One in 1979. Located in Oakville in the heart of Napa Valley, the winery makes only one wine.The building itself opened in 1991 and is one of the more striking sights along Highway 29. Green lawns slant upward to meet the walls of the front building, which seems to be rising out of the earth with some of the landscape still clinging to it.


Opus One is permitted to produce up to 110,000 gallons of wine annually. Despite the limit, it produced 170,590 gallons in 2012 and 116,580 gallons in 2015. It wants to change its permit so it can produce up to 250,000 gallons annually, a county report said.

The winery also asked to expand its 80,000-square-foot winery by 51,906 square feet for a fermentation tank room, barrel preparation area, storage, conference rooms, offices and other uses. New structures would be built to the rear of the winery.Basayne said the appearance of Opus One is iconic. He noted the architectural firm that designed it also designed San Francisco’s Transamerica pyramid.

“It’s very obvious the changes proposed will not be visible from the passersby on Highway 29,” Basayne said.

Opus One CEO David Pearson said the expansion is designed by Scott Johnson, who designed the original winery. (NVR)




Instant Collection of Opus One Sold for $165,000

© Opus One/Sotheby's | One hundred cases of Opus One have been sold by Sotheby's New York

It took a private dinner and an extension to the limited-period offer, but a lover of Napa cab has spent big bucks on a stellar collection.

A buyer from mainland China has purchased a 100-case collection of Opus One, the retail arm of Sotheby's has revealed.Initially on sale for five days only, there were no bites for the $165,000 collection and the offer was extended for another five days. The team at Sotheby's New York store also threw in an extra incentive: a private tour of Opus One followed by a dinner for six. 


One hundred cases of Opus One have been sold by Sotheby's New York

The final deadline for buyers was Wednesday, November 20, after which the 100 cases – ranging from the 1997 vintage to 2005 – were to be offered separately. Sotheby's reported that there had been "multiple offers" for the 600 bottles, but the purchase by a Chinese buyer suggests that collectors in the Far East are looking beyond Bordeaux and Burgundy to source fine wine. Announcing the launch of the collection earlier in November, Jamie Ritchie, CEO and president Americas and Asia for Sotheby’s Wine, said: “We believe this is the largest collection of Opus One ever to appear on the market."



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The most famous wine producer in Bordeaux, perhaps the whole of France, Baron Philippe de Rothschild had an innovative thought in 1970. He wanted to make wine outside his home region Bordeaux. He had followed the rapid development of California throughout the 1960s and decided to start there. Recommended by his close friend, the president of the Wine Institute of California Harry Serlis, Baron Philippe contacted Robert Mondavi in 1970.


The result of the joint venture between the two partners was officially launched as a wine by the name of Opus One in 1980. The first bottles, vintages 1979 and 1980, were sold in 1984. Opus One rested on an idea and the slogan Best of Both Worlds. Napa Valley in California was in those days regarded as the paradise for winemaking. If anyone,  Baron Philippe de Rothschild knew how to make a classically stylish high-quality red wine; the key to fruitful cooperation was found.


Opus One was a huge success. It is considered California's first super premium wine and it introduced a totally new price category exceeding the magic line of 50 dollars. Opus One was at first made at Robert Mondavi's estate, but the plan from the beginning was to eventually establish a separate facility. The 30-million-dollar Opus One Winery was completed in 1991. The investment paid itself back as early as the winery's fourth year of operation. At that time, the price of the wine had risen above 70 dollars.


The winery’s board of directors appointed David Pearson CEO in 2004, the first person singly responsible for Opus One. Michael Silacci was thereafter named winemaker, the first to assume full responsibility for viticulture and winemaking.

Constellation Brands, Inc. purchased Robert Mondavi Corporation and assumed 50% ownership of Opus One in 2005. Baroness Philippine de Rothschild and then Constellation Brands President and COO Robert Sands announced the Opus One Accord between Baron Philippe de Rothschild, S.A. and Constellation Brands, Inc. Opus One assumed operating independence in three key areas: vineyard management, domestic and international sales, and administration.


Asserting its independence and achieving a keen balance between its partners, Opus One remains dedicated to uncomprised quality. Opus One’s sole purpose is to express the vision and passionate spirit of its founders for generations to come. 

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Looking out across Opus One’s vineyards, one immediately senses Opus One is different. Cultivated with passion and a singular vision, the four meticulously hedged vineyards comprising the winery’s 169 acres (68.4 hectares) bear a unique signature in the Napa Valley. There is continuity in the way the vines are planted, tended, and harvested that imbues each vintage with unwavering quality.


Great winemaking begins in the vineyard. At Opus One, traditional approaches are taken wherever they work best. And, when modern techniques benefit the winegrowing process, they are researched, evaluated and integrated into practice. For instance, the vines are planted five to six times more densely than is typical in California. At higher densities, the vines produce smaller berries with higher skin-to-juice ratios and more intense flavors and aromas.


Opus One’s first estate vineyard was acquired in 1981 when Robert Mondavi sold Q Block (35 acres/14.2 hectares), part of his famous To-Kalon Vineyard, to the newly-launched joint venture. Then in 1983, the River Parcel, a 50-acre (20.2-hectare) ranch in Oakville, was purchased as surrounding land for the joint venture winery east of Highway 29. The following year Opus One acquired the 49-acre (19.8-hectare) Ballestra Vineyard, adjacent to the River Parcel and extending south to the Oakville Cross Road.


In 1995, Opus One viticulturists replanted the original Q Block with low-yield, high-density spacing and phylloxera-resistant rootstock. In 2008, Opus One acquired its newest piece of the To-Kalon Vineyard, the 48-acre (19.4-hectare) K Block, formerly owned by Robert Mondavi Winery.

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Winemaking at Opus One resolves to a single goal: to produce an extraordinary wine. No compromises are made. Guided by the vision of our founders, our winemaker Michael Silacci combines intuition and technical acumen with the dual perspective of viticulturist and winemaker.

Every cluster of Opus One grapes is hand-harvested, and just as much care is taken when transporting them from the vineyard to the winery. The integrity of the grapes is assured by placing the clusters in small picking boxes that hold no more than thirty-five pounds (sixteen kilograms).


The grapes are hand-sorted: any leaves or imperfect grapes are discarded. Only gravity is used to move the berries from the destemmer into the stainless steel fermenting tanks below. Stainless steel is the perfect material – it provides a cool and gentle beginning to the fermentation process.

Because Opus One makes only one wine, each tank can be dedicated to a single lot of grapes; each tank is used only once during harvest, so fermentation and maceration need never be rushed. The long, warm maceration in temperature-controlled tanks draws out myriad rich flavors and colors from the skins, seeds, and pulp. The tanks are raised so the free-run wine can flow into new French oak barrels; the remaining skins tumble easily into basket presses.


In another gentle, unhurried step, the skins, seeds, and pulp are pressed. Like the free-run wine, the pressed wine is put into barrels to be aged. To provide backbone to the wine, a portion of the press is often added to the final blend.

Once the wine is safely in barrel, the topping, racking, and fining processes begin. During the first year, Michael continually tastes from each French oak barrel, evaluating the effect of the wood on the wine.

Fining, which occurs after the final racking in tank, also illustrates the hand-crafted nature of Opus One. Carefully added in more turbid vintages, fresh egg whites attract the very small particles that would otherwise remain in suspension. Fining clarifies and polishes the wine.


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Inside information


In keeping with the tradition of many great Bordeaux estates, Opus One produces a fine second wine called Overture. Since 1993, Overture has been crafted as a part of our relentless pursuit of quality for Opus One.  Every acre of our estate vineyard is farmed with the attention to detail and singular focus required to produce Opus One.  As part of the highly selective blending process, some lots, despite showcasing the amazing Oakville terroir of our estate, are not chosen for the final blend of Opus One. These lots are afforded additional time in barrel, in combination with blending across multiple vintages, to achieve a final non vintage wine of remarkable elegance and complexity that captures the essence of our estate vineyard over time. This is Overture.

Aged in French oak, Overture is composed of the same five varietals that define Opus One:  Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet France, Petit Verdot and Malbec. 

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Igor Sill, Wine Maker (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Opus One . In a tasting of  9 wines 

It took me some time to assemble my list of the very best Cabernet Sauvignon and red blends I’ve ever tasted over these past 8 years. To relive those memorable tasting experiences over the span of those years was hauntingly unforgettable. I assess a wine’s quality based on its coloration and purity, complexity and balance, aromatic flavors along with the memory of its long finish after the glass is emptied.  I hope you appreciate my “top ten best wines ever” list as I had fun retrieving these great memories along with the very special folks and occasions I shared those memories with. Here are my top 10 best ever red wines:

1m 2d ago

 Mario Sculatti / Sleeping Lady Vineyard, Wine Maker (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Opus One . In a tasting of  14 wines 

Napa Valley 2011 Vintage tasting with some superb Gargiulos.

7m 27d ago

 Doug Hill / Wine Importer, Pro (Canada)  tasted  1 wines  from  Opus One . In a tasting of  22 wines 

Tasting Napa vintages 2010 and 2011 - both great to drink already.

9m 9d ago

 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  15 wines  from  Opus One . In a tasting of  15 wines 

Opus One 1980-2010

1989 Opus One - 99 points / Ruby with thin orange rim. Blackcurrants, some vanilla, intense, cedar, tobacco, hints of leather and coffee, cigar. Great balance, elegant acidity, ripe tannins, the balance is exceptional, superb finish, perfection.

There is something indescribable about this wine, so seductive, so perfect, something you can't describe, just like the 94 Opus. I wish I had more of this......a wine of dreams, words aren't enough. The people around the table was all astonished, and it was tasted blind. A MW came up with 82 Cheval Blanc as a suggestion.  


10m 30d ago

 Opus One  has news

Opus One wins expansion approval - Opus One winery convinced county Planning Commissioners on W  more ...

1y 4m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW / Best Sommelier in the World 1998, MW (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Opus One . In a tasting of  10 wines 

“Part II/ A perfect setting was arranged by Maximilian J. Riedel at Schloss Leopoldskron close to Salzburg. The famous glass manufacturer opened his private cellar to accompany a perfect dinner. The tasting was completely blind, even the theme of each flight had to be found out. Options were terroir, producer, grape variety or soil. All the wines were served in Riedel glasses and the glass models proved quite helpful to find out the theme of each flight. A great evening with some surprises in the glass.

1y 9m ago

 Jon Grant / Sommelier, Pro (Mexico)  tasted  1 wines  from  Opus One . In a tasting of  17 wines 

“Blanket 2010 / Good looking normal size bottle and is in a excellent condition. Colour is ruby red, and looking healthy, evolved and deep. On the nose it is wide, refined and seductive. The taste is focused, elegant, fragrant, and average in acidity, full-bodied, with balanced, good texture, complex structure and developing. On the palate it is layered and has floral, mineral, tobacco, violet, herbs, honey and leather flavours. The finish is long, round, flavorful and vibrant. This wine is sophisticated, transparent and excellent. Perfectly stored bottles are still very worthy and will last well for another 10-15 years and decant at least 2h before tasting.”

1y 10m ago

 Cashile Pienaar / Sommelier, Pro (South Africa)  tasted  1 wines  from  Opus One . In a tasting of  10 wines 

“"The 2009 Proprietary Blend Harlan Estate is just as impressive from bottle as it was from barrel. Cloves, dark plums, cherries, smoke and graphite add richness and resonance to this powerful, incisive wine. Juicy and exuberant, the 2009 has always had a certain raciness that is impossible to resist. Layers of fruit continue to build to the enveloping, sensual finish. Readers will have a hard time keeping their hands off this hugely delicious wine. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2034." Antonio Galloni”

1y 10m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Opus One . In a tasting of  20 wines 

“Weird experience to taste Bordeaux 2011 vintage at 02.00 am - Pétrus was still quite good like Mouton and Palmer:)”

2y 3m ago

 Rytis Jurkenas / Champagne Expert, Pro (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Opus One . In a tasting of  32 wines 

“Great tasting with excellent Antinori's!”

2y 3m ago

 Mario Sculatti / Sleeping Lady Vineyard, Wine Maker (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Opus One . In a tasting of  29 wines 

“Another evening with great wines : Unico 1944/Just this first smell and everyone around the table is intrigued , big time! The caramel marmalade, coffee and dried cedar are telling us all Spain. Especially Jan-Erik, because his radar is tuned to shoot down Spanish bogies. The nose is similar to the 1925 Marquis Riscal we had in an earlier flight, but this gorgeous we-think-Spanish wine is in a whole different echelon of quality. The color is black currant juice-like, with lightly browning edges. Then to the tongue...This is the 40's or 50's because of the softness of the tannins, but man that is serious density. This wine was a monster in it's youth and you can tell it was more rustic in it's past, its like an older gentleman who was real muscular and buccaneering bad-ass when he was young. This is classy penache all the way.....Then the wine is revealed to be none other than 1944 Vega Sicilia Unico, the bottle is war-time green glass, and to think that this was crafted while Franco facism was holding Spain....This is drinking history! 95 points”

2y 3m ago

 Georg Linde, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Opus One . In a tasting of  35 wines 

“Tasted some of the greatest Napa wines.”

2y 4m ago

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