In the heart of Napa Valley, Yountville has a distinguished terroir that sets its wines apart. The terroir here is relatively new compared to wine regions around the world–although it’s still 150 million years old!
What was once ocean floor was pushed upwards, and valleys formed. One of them was the Napa Valley, where Yountville, California wineries enjoy incredible soil diversity and unique microclimates.
Yountville’s unique microclimate
Yountville’s southerly location brings cooling breezes and morning fog from the San Pablo Bay right to the grapevines. The grapes stay cool in the afternoons when the sun is most intense.
Yountville experiences significant temperature swings, called diurnals, from day to night. During the day, grapes ripen in the sunshine, and then night temperatures cool them down, allowing them to retain their acidity. This balancing act in the vineyard allows us to create wines with depth and age-ability.
Yountville, California wineries’ soil diversity
Soil type greatly affects how a grapevine grows, how much water and nutrients it can get, and the quality of grapes it produces.
Yountville soils are sedimentary in origin and are made up of gravelly silt loam and alluvial soils and rock. Loam keeps the soil poor enough so that the grapevines have to struggle. This sounds bad, but it’s actually a good thing–grapevines need a little stress to produce quality wine grapes with concentrated flavor compounds.
The gravelly alluvial soil and rocks provide excellent drainage for the grapevines, forcing their roots to dig deeper into the earth in search of nutrients. This means longevity for the vineyard, and it also means complex wines!
Signature grapes of Yountville
Some of the most famous grapes in the world are grown here, including Cornerstone Cellars, making distinctive terroir-focused wines. Here are just some of what Yountville, California wineries have to offer:
- Cabernet Sauvignon makes structured wines with complexity and the ability to age for decades
- Merlot can make fresh, fruity wines with high acidity or deep, complex wines with bold dark fruit flavors
- Cabernet Franc makes wines with dark cherry and currant, as well as herbaceous notes like green bell pepper
- Chardonnay is an incredibly versatile grape that can make crisp, mineral-driven wines with citrus fruit, or full-bodied, creamy wines with tropical and stone fruit.
- Sauvignon Blanc is an aromatic white grape with notes of grapefruit, passionfruit, and flowers
Local winemaking traditions
Here in Yountville, our winemaking tradition is built on a desire to showcase terroir—what each plot of land has to offer our grapes. Our winemakers at Cornerstone Cellars often create varietal wines, also known as single-vineyard bottlings. Rather than blending one grape from several vineyards, winemakers will choose to make wine from the fruit of one single plot of land. This is how we practice the art of storytelling.
That tradition and history also includes our very own tasting salon! Dating back nearly 150 years as the oldest standing structure in the Town of Yountville, our building was the original train depot for this part of the Napa Valley. We are honored to keep our own little part of history in Yountville alive and well.