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Blackbird Vineyards "Merlot" is French patois for 'Little Blackbird'. Founded in 2003 by Michael Ploenske, Blackbird Vineyards is an artisanal producer or Pomerol inspired inspired wines from the Napa Valley planted in 1997, the estate vineyard is located in the heart of the Oak Knoll District - a region appreciated for its moderate climate and deep, gravelly soils. The vineyards's valley floor topography presents optimum growing conditions for consulting wine maker Sara Gott and wine maker Aaron Pott to produce elegantly styled, appropriately balanced red wines the winery and in the finer restaurants and hotels around the world.
Blackbird Vineyard is comprised of Haire-Combs soil; predominantly the Haire type of soil. It holds proper soil moisture down deep and is available to the vines and allows Blackbird to be virtually dry-farmed.
Haire soils are moderately well drained. The surface layer is brown and grayish brown loam or clay loam. The subsoil extends to a depth of 60 inches or more. It is pale brown and pale yellow clay and sandy clay.
Coombs soils are also well drained. The surface layer is brown and pale brown gravelly loam and clay loam. The subsoil is brown, light brown, and pink clay loam. The substratum is very gravelly loamy fine sand.
In conjunction with the Blackbird Vineyard—which provides fruit for the foundation of our portfolio—we foster long-term partnerships with premium vineyard sources throughout Napa Valley where growers are passionate about their approach to farming. These vineyards are hand-selected for their health and superiority, allowing us to achieve exceptional fruit quality with each harvest season.
Similar to the Pomerol region of Bordeaux, the Oak Knoll District is akin in its soil composition, microclimate, and rural qualities. The Oak Knoll District is one of the coolest regions in the valley—second only to Carneros—and like Pomerol, is home to gravelly, clay loam soils, which create an ideal growing region for Merlot. Due to the region’s cool nights, the vineyard retains good acidity and natural balance. The Haire-type soil holds moisture deep in the ground, allowing Blackbird to be virtually dry-farmed.
Perched on a rolling hillside in the cool climate of Carneros, this vineyard is a high-quality fruit source for Merlot and is considered one of the top winegrowers in the United States. A talented group of farmers (many who have worked for the Ranch for 20 years or more)—devote their full attention to the vineyards to ensure world-class grapes for Blackbird Vineyards.
With over 500 acres planted, it is the largest contiguous mountain planting in the Napa Valley. Stretching from the westernmost regions of Atlas Peak all the way to the east overlooking Oakville, these 1,200+ acres of rocky, volcanic terroir grace the southern edge of Pritchard Hill. The vineyard’s elevation combined with the soil produces intense Merlot and tannic and powerful Cabernet Franc.
The Rainin Vineyard sits on the highest parts of Diamond Mountain Road, facing east. The rocky soils of Diamond Mountain produce firm tannic wines with intense fruit. Blackbird sources Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon from this property.
Committed to sustainable and organic farming techniques, these growers have combined the best of both old world philosophy and new world fruit. This estate spans over 100 acres across the gorgeous St. Helena Appellation. The deep pocket of well-drained gravel creates aromatic Cabernet Franc with impressive structure and finesse.