Rutherford Hill Winery
Rutherford Hill was founded in 1972 as Souverain of Rutherford, and was originally owned by the Pillsbury Company. They sold it in 1976 to an investment group led by Bill Jaeger and the name of the winery was changed to Rutherford Hill at that time. In 1996 the estate was sold to the Terlato Wine Group, a wine and production company based in Illinois, founded by the late Anthony Terlato. Today his sons Bill and John continue his legacy. Rutherford Hill are located in the Napa Valley along the Silverado Trail in the Rutherford AVA of California. The founders of the winery pioneered the development of Merlot in the Napa Valley; the climate and soil here resemble those of Pomerol and they believed that this terroir was well-suited to the cultivation of Bordeaux's premium Right Bank grape variety. Today Merlot is one of Napa's champion varieties. It comprises 75% of Rutherford Hill's production, and is their flagship wine. In their pursuit of excellence, Terlato have exacting standards and always put quality first. To this end they wanted to create an environment where reserve wines could be given the time and consideration they needed, and a new state-of-the-art, self-contained “winery within a winery”, solely for the production of reserve wines, was ready for the 2000 harvest. It is in this facility, costing more than $7 million, the prized reserve wines are crafted. Rutherford Hill is also home to one of the 150 wine caves in the Napa Valley. Rutherford Hill's wine cave was completed in 1986 but, expansions continuing until 1989, it was one of the first caves to be made using modern technology. The Terlato family improved the cave in 1999, and here 8,000 French and American oak barrels age in the ideal environment of 59°F/90 percent humidity, resulting in a substantial reduction of evaporation, creating wines with lower concentrations of alcohol. Rutherford Hill are committed to sustainable viticulture and winemaking. The winery is 100% solar powered and they are certified Napa Green Land and Napa Green Winery. The grapes come from 10 ares of estate vineyards and a vineyard in Pope Valley, further north in the Napa Valley. They also supplement their own fruit with grapes from a handful of meticulously selected Napa Valley growers. The wines are made with acumen by talented young winemaker Marisa Taylor, who crafts an award-winning portfolio of great complexity and character, rich and full-flavoured. The red wines may exhibit a unique characteristic called Rutherford Dust. This is derived from the ancient mineral-rich soils of the AVA on which the grapes are grown, and is unique to wines from this region. Some describe this as a chocolate or coffee taste and others claim it is more of a textural quality, with a full mouthfeel and big smooth tannins – either way, Rutherford Hill's wines are quite delicious!