Touring & Tasting

Touring & Tasting

by Janet Viader
Touring & Tasting Summer/Fall 2010, 06/15/10

Argentine-born mother of four Delia Viader (Vee-ah-dare) had a vision when she founded her vineyard on the lower reaches of Howell Mountain in 1986. Having spent many of her formative years in Europe, particularly France, she viewed the steep and rocky land with a fresh eye and decided to plant the vines up and down the hillsides - a planting method designed to optimize sun exposure, vine density, and erosion control. This thinking was contrary to the farming methods used in the area at the time. For one thing, planting on a steep slope requires meticulous hand farming. But to Delia, the positives far outweighed the negatives. She dared to be different and, three years later, that difference paid off with the production of the fist Viader wines.

With that first vintage, Delia introduced another new concept to the Napa Valley. Particularly impressed by the wines of Chateau Cheval Blanc in Saint-Emilion, France, she decided to craft a proprietary estate blend that featured Cabernet Franc with Cabernet Sauvignon as its base element. Named simply "Viader," the 1989 vintage was an instant success and has become Viader's signature wine. The winery has since expanded its elegant portfolio in include an estate Syrah and "V," a Petit Verdot blend combining Petit Verdot and the winery's estate Cabernet Sauvignon. A second label, Dare, features three distinct varietals, each incorporating fruit from select vineyards. All Viader wines are organically grown and hand-farmed with low yields that average fewer than three tons per acre. 

Delia remained true to her vision and, today, Viader is a thriving family business. Delia's daughter Janet heads up the winery's sales and marketing efforts, while Delia's son Alan oversees production. Alan's wife Mariela, a professionally trained chef, directs the winery's sophisticated wine and culinary program. A visit to Viader is by reservation only, ensuring that each guest enjoys the singular experience of tasting the refined wines, touring the underground caves, and admiring the breathtaking views of the northern Napa Valley. 

 

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