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Quintessa is comprised of a total of 280 acres of which 170 acres are planted to the classic Bordeaux grape varieties in 26 vineyard blocks as follows: Cabernet Sauvignon (129 acres), Merlot (26 acres), Cabernet Franc (7 acres), Petit Verdot (4 acres), and Carmenere (4 acres). The estate includes a valley, a lake, a river; five hills, four microclimates, and many soil types, as well as rich flora and fauna. The diversity of exposure, elevation, and microclimate and soil type produces 40 very different wines lots from the 26 different vineyard blocks. We believe the diversity of the property (Valleys, Terraces, Hilltops, Foothills and Riverside) contribute to the high quality and uniqueness of the fruit.


Originally part of the Caymus land grant, the property was purchased in the 1940s by George Mardikian, a high profile San Francisco restaurateur, owner of the renowned Omar Khayyam restaurant. Mardikian had grand plans for the property and believed it's destiny was to be a premium wine estate. George Mardikian died in the early 1980s never having fulfilled his dream. 

The combination of the property's size, beauty and location in the heart of one of the world's greatest appellations, Rutherford, created a speculative frenzy among potential buyers. From the time of his death until the final sale in 1990, many prestigious vintners in the Napa Valley attempted to buy the property, several getting as far as escrow, without success.


When Valeria Huneeus first saw the property in late 1989, she felt a special connection to the wild undulating hills, studded with mature oak trees and the beautiful Dragon's Lake. Like others before her, she also recognized immediately that the property had the potential to be a wine estate of superlative caliber. Although many others had been unsuccessful in attempts to buy the property, Valeria believed that she and Agustin alone were to be the stewards of this unique property. Their combined years of experience in all aspects of the wine making and vineyard development made them uniquely suited to shephard this property to fulfill its great potential.


By patiently sharing her vision with the Mardikian family, Valeria won their trust and in 1990 they agreed to sell the land. Agustin and Valeria christened the property, Quintessa: a name that alludes to the five dramatic hills and five distinct microclimates included in the property's diverse geography unique in the Napa Valley and the belief they held that this property was destined to be the quintessential wine estate.

The story of Quintessa is really a story of destiny. That this unique property that was quite possibly the best parcel of land, in arguably the best appellation in Napa for growing the noble Bordeaux grape varietals had laid untouched for so long, when so many others before them tried to acquire it can be credited to nothing else than destiny. Agustin and Valeria believe this property was meant to be Quintessa.


The fact Quintessa had not been planted throughout the early growth in Napa Valley's vineyard development is paramount. While other vineyards were overtaken with phylloxera in the early 1980's and subsequently besieged by an onslaught of aggressive mechanical and chemical remedies, Quintessa was spared. When Valeria began to develop the vineyard in 1990, the soils were alive and healthy, and free from prior disease, farming abuses, or other limitations inherent in pre-existing vineyards. Agustin and Valeria Huneeus were able realize their vision for Quintessa and create a world class wine estate capable of producing a great wine.



The Valleys
Limelight, Las Casas, Corral, Silverdale North, Silverdale South, Cruz del Sur, Winery
Climate: The greatest temperature extremes of the vineyard
Soil: White volcanic ash, loam and clay, reddish volcanic

The Hilltops
Howard's Million, Corona Norte, Corona South, Monte Cruz, Alcantara, Bill's Canyon, Las Flores, Mesa, Coyote, Tesoro
Climate: The most temperate climate of the vineyard.
Soil: Reddish volcanic, sandy loam, white volcanic ash, sandy alluvial soil with cobbles, fractured rock and gravel, brown loam with river cobbles

The Terraces
Dragon's Terraces, Lake Terrace, Mt. Calisse, Pedraza Terrace, South Terrace, Riviera Norte, Rivera Sur
Climate:  Moderate temperatures with virtually no danger of frost
Soil:  Reddish volcanic ash, sandy loam, white volcanic ash, sandy alluvial soil with cobbles, fractured rock and gravel

The Riverside Bench
Climate: Moderate temperatures
Soil: Alluvial soil typical of the Napa Valley flood plain.


Vineyard Practices

Sustainable Agriculture: As stewards of this remarkable place, we have always farmed Quintessa with sustainable practices that maintain harmony with the soil, vegetation and animal life. It is Valeria's intent to keep the soils of Quintessa as rich in microorganisms as she found them. This is achieved by avoiding all chemical controls, minimum tilling and soil disturbance, and use of diverse cover crops, which has the effect of enriching the soil's microorganisms. Valeria has planted native plants and grasses in the vineyard margins throughout the property to encourage populations of beneficial insects, and removed plants that harbor harmful grapevine pests.


Biodynamic FarmingTuning into Nature
Building on these practices, in 1997, Valeria introduced biodynamic farming to several blocks of the Quintessa vineyard. Biodynamic farming has been utilized by civilizations for centuries but was established and popularized by Austrian scientist Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s. Based on the principle that the growth of plants is subject to the energy of the earth and the gravitational influences of the sun, moon and stars, biodynamics seeks to work with energies that create and maintain life.


Biodynamics includes timing key activities such as planting, pruning and harvesting to the phases of the moon and cosmological cycles. At Quintessa, biodynamic viticulture also revolves around the garden, where we grow plants and herbs that are utilized in a variety of biodynamic remedies Practices emphasize the health of the soil, enhancing vitality with specially prepared compost teas applied in the spring. As the growing season progresses, homeopathic preparations made with minute amounts of silica, chamomile, oak bark, stinging nettle, valerian and other herbs are sprayed on the foliage of the vines.


Each of the blocks in the biodynamic program has seen improvement in fruit quality and several which had never been a part of the Quintessa blend are part of the Quintessa cuvee in the 2002 vintage.  In the summer of 2004, Valeria turned the entire 170-acre vineyard at Quintessa over to biodynamic farming. Our experience has shown us that maintaining the health and vitality of the vineyard results in fruit of exceptional quality...essential to the production of a world class wine.


Rootstock Diversity: Each of the property's vineyard blocks is carefully matched to a specific rootstock best suited for the soil type found in the block. The benefits of careful rootstock selection include better vigor control, disease resistance and drought tolerance. The vineyard team is continously re-evaluating available rootstocks and block improvement and replanting is on going.


Clonal Selection: The Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon clones chosen for the Quintessa vineyard were precisely selected to suit the soil, climate and type of wine the Huneeus's intended to produce. Fourteen clones were used, including seven Cabernet Sauvignon clones, six Merlot clones and one Cabernet Franc clone.


Trellising: The Quintessa vineyard almost entirely utilizes a unilateral cordon with vertical trellising. This allows us to manage the canopy for maximum balance,  good light penetration and the proper ratio of leaves to berries.



Quintessa is truly a "winemaker's winery. The design facilitates a gravity-flow process and a state-of-the-art winery specifically tailored with fermenters and tanks sized to match the diverse blocks in the Quintessa vineyard. Additionally, the winery at Quintessa is outfitted with the latest in winemaking technology. French oak and stainless steel fermenters stand tall along the winery's front wall, providing the winemaking team with a choice of characteristics adding complexity and subtlety to the blend. Two Vaslin-Bucher JLB automated basket presses, designed for Quintessa to retain the benefits of gentle basket pressing while incorporating new efficiency and precision, are ideally situated at the center of the tank room to receive the grape must following fermentation and maceration. At the heart of the winery and overlooking the tanks and presses below, sits the glass-enclosed blending room and adjoining modern lab where the winemaking progress is painstakingly monitored daily.


Behind the press hall lies the main entrance to Quintessa's caves structure, 1,200 linear feet, and 17,000 square feet of caves and tunnels carved into the volcanic ash hillside directly behind the winery. Here the wine is left to age in French oak barrels in the caves' ideal cellarage conditions for three years from vintage before its release. Quintessa's caves can be entered through one of four porticos from the winery and have a capacity to store up to 3000 barrels.



Latest news

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 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Quintessa . In a tasting of  7 wines 

Some new releases have been presented this week and have been tasted over two days.                 

1y 27d ago

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