2012 Barrel Tasting

Delia & Alan Viader tasting the 2012 VIADER blend from barrel

Yesterday, I was pulled away from my computer to join Delia and Alan for a quick barrel tasting of our blends from the 2012 vintage. We tasted through four different barrels of VIADER, two tastes each of “V” and Syrah, and finally we tried both the 2012 and 2013 vintages of our special single barrel blend of “Tribute” which is dedicated to my grandfather and Delia’s father, Walter Viader.

Wow. The wines from this vintage are so impressive. Rich fruit of the 2012 VIADER fills the mouth; the texture has an elegant roundness and fullness, with tasty caramel notes on the finish. Our 2012 “V” has the delicious bittersweet chocolate notes and brightness that we were hoping to extract from the grapes – and we did thankfully! The Syrah was fermented in the concrete egg “tank” and may be one of the best we’ve ever made. Coming around to the “Tribute,” we all took smaller samples because we only made one barrel (~25 cases), and this wine, painstakingly blended by Alan and Delia, embodies all that is Howell Mountain – red and black fruits supported by supple tannins and serious structure.

We’re looking forward to sharing these wines with you in a couple years! If you are interested in joining Alan for a barrel tasting, please view our 2014 Events Calendar. Alan will be giving a guided barrel tasting and cave tour on Friday, November 14th from 2-4pm. Space is extremely limited and an RSVP required. Cheers!

Gruezie! Hello from Switzerland!

Restaurant Braui

Restaurant Braui in Hochdorf, Zurich, Switzerland

At 6am the day after Turkey Day, the mother-son winemaking duo Delia and Alan Viader were en route to Zurich, Switzerland, to be guests of honor for a fantastic Vertical Tasting put together by family friend and wine collector, Eugen Haefliger. The setting on November 30th, was the infamous Restaurant Braui, headed by talented Chef Werner Tobler and featuring delicious Thanksgiving-inspired dishes such as Gefullter Schenkel auf Wirsing Blanquette mit Truffel (turkey liver with truffles)!

Starting with an Imperial 6L of the 2004 VIADER for the reception, the 20-year VIADER Vertical almost exclusively featured large format 1.5L magnum bottles, starting with our inaugural 1989 vintage, and finishing with the classic 2009 VIADER.

For availability please view the Special Features on our website (for a limited time). You may also contact, or call (707) 963-3816.

We would like to share with you the tasting notes taken by Alan:


Flight #1

1989 VIADER: Impressive. Showing great today. Nice earthy tones with elegant fruit qualities. Very “Bordeaux-like.” Nice finish… still pretty lengthy. Has more life in it!

1990 VIADER: Little tight at first. Dark, forest floor, fresh mushroom, bit leaner but still very good. It is the most “Bordeaux-like” in the flight.

1991 VIADER: Second favorite of the Flight. Hints of dried dark fruits, prunes without negative over-ripeness qualities. Very nice characters. Dark. Spicy. Marmalade. Beautiful wine!

1992 VIADER: Tasting nice today. Waking up. Good earth, spice, with delicate fruit tones. Dark red fruits, dried flowers. Very nice in fact.

1993 VIADER: Impressive. Tight, starting to show a bit of age. After some time really opened up. Some hints of the fruit but turned into more tobacco, cigar box, dried floral notes and earthy notes as well.

1994 VIADER: Star of the flight! Rich and fruity, nice silky textures, creamy, caramel. Hard caramel candy.

Flight #2

1995 VIADER: Star of the flight! Big, bold right off the bat. Nice fruit concentration in balance. Rich fruit, slightly overripe fruit but goes great in this. Reminds me of raspberry liqueur.

1996 VIADER: Interesting hints of tropical fruit. More earthy than 1995. Seems leaner or slightly muted.

1997 VIADER: Big body but tight on the nose. Tons of tannins. Has nice fruit on the finish but chunky right now throughout the palate. Needs time to open up!

1998 VIADER: Second favorite of the flight! Good aromatics, beautiful fruit, dried flowers, layers of silky caramel, earthy depth. Very good wine.

1999 VIADER: Showing a bit of raisin at first. Tons of red fruit, seems sweet and shorter on the finish. Good flavors but bit too rich. Has a bit of root beer or prune soda sweetness on the nose (molasses, prunes, etc.)

Flight #3

2000 VIADER: Very nice wine. Bright red hard cherry candy up front with a solid herbal frame. Hints of green, freshness on the palate. Very nice balance.

2001 VIADER: Bit tired this evening. Nice palate, good sweetness but I remember the aromas being better.

2002 VIADER: Nice, round, rich fruit profile. Solid oak, power wine. Big and chunky right now. Good follow through and nice body. Lengthy but big dark rich fruit and plums.

2003 VIADER: Blueberries! Very good aromatically but dusty and tight on the palate. Less silky than others. Much better from the 750’s but aging nicely. Good for another 10+ years easily, maybe more! Improved dramatically with more time to open up in the glass.

2004 VIADER (1.5L and 6L): Beautiful fruit, ripe, round. Nice as well from 1.5L, but the 6L is more “friendly” right now.

Flight #4

2005 VIADER: Big impression. Good fruit, not super “bright” red but more dark cherry as some of the others are more raspberry. Black tea. Good flavors, long-rich palate. Lost the green notes it had several years ago.

2006 VIADER: Very good right now! Big, chunky and bold fruit. Very dense and solid wine. Woke up very well compared to the last time I tasted it. Nice!

2007 VIADER: Less up font frui but tons of spice, oak spice, nice red raspberry fruit. Leaner but not “weak.” Still a big wine. More linear and focused. Good right now. Nice fruit finish.

2008 VIADER: Very big and vibrant. Nice chocolate character, layered with dark red cherry, currant. Great fruit today. Showing great!

2009 VIADER: More vanilla, caramel up front. Nice, sweet, juicy wine. Young wine has some “baby fat.”

For fun, they also presented a selection of magnums of our estate “V” Petit Verdot Blend.

Flight #5

2003 “V”: Rose petal aromas, very soft silky textures. Best wine of the flight. Good now through next 5+ years.

2005 “V”: Very open and expressive tonight. Very nice. Big finish. Has nice lift of fruit with decent grip. Going to be good in 5+ years.

2010 “V”: Bigger, riper style of wine. More rich, raspberry, flowers. Big powerful style. Too young right now, but going to be an amazing wine. 5-10+ years.

For availability please view the Special Features on our website (for a limited time). You may also contact, or call (707) 963-3816.

View more details in German at

OIV Students visit Viader Winery

OIV Students visit Viader Winery

Every summer our winery welcomes a special group of international students who are doing travel research for a Masters in Wine Management from the OIV (L’Organisation de la Vigne et du Vin).  OIV is based in Montpelier, France and its academic program literally spans the globe and focuses on all aspects of the wine industry, including marketing, agriculture, tourism, business, vineyard management and winemaking.  Following visits to all the major wine-producing regions of Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, the students then travel to North America.

Our relationship with the OIV program started in 2007 when a colleague and UC Davis professor James Lapsley asked Delia Viader, VIADER’s founding winemaker, if she would speak of her unique experience in building a winery and wine brand from the ground up in 1986.  Her talks at the world-renowned Viticulture & Enology Department of UC Davis later blossomed into an annual pilgrimage up Howell Mountain for the students to visit one of Napa’s smallest producers and learn about one incredible woman’s story.
Janet welcomes OIV students

Janet welcomes OIV students

On a warm sunny morning this August,  Janet Viader received a caravan of sixteen students who were just beginning their five- week-long visit in North America visiting wineries and wine establishments on both coasts and Canada.  They had been at a handful of establishments in Sonoma and Napa Valley, including Benziger, Hanzell, Robert Mondavi Winery and would be continuing on to Opus One following their visit to VIADER.  Starting the tour at the winery crush pad, Janet led the group in a lively discussion and answered a multitude of questions about VIADER’s winemaking style and history, Delia’s story and philosophy, and our family’s strategic plan for the continued success of our small multi-generational winery.  Some of the students also come from wine-producing families.  The questions were intelligent and direct, and the answers thorough and candid with an emphasis on the sea change in the wine business away from the traditional distribution model and towards more direct business thanks to monumental changes in direct shipping laws.

In a charming setting outside near the VIADER Tasting Room, the diverse group of students from France, Portugal, China, Belgium, Romania and Australia tasted our current releases including our flagship wine, 2008 VIADER Proprietary Red Blend.  The group was very impressed, and took many photos of the wines and back labels so they could remember what they enjoyed.  Several even purchased bottles of our 2011 DARE by Viader Cabernet Franc!
As a special treat in conclusion of the visit, Janet opened the new release 2010 “V” Petit Verdot Blend in order to showcase the unique terroir reflecting in the Petit Verdot on the VIADER estate, and to prove how taking risks on creativity can sometimes be hugely rewarding and successful — as it is with Delia’s one-of-a-kind “V” Petit Verdot Blend.  We said our goodbyes and exchanged information because a handful of students were interested in importing VIADER wines in Asia and Europe.  One of our favorite aspects of the OIV program is that over the years Delia has repeatedly crossed paths with several of the OIV students at events like the VinExpo international wine trade show, and they always enthusiastically share with her their fond memories of listening to her inspiring story while tasting VIADER wines on a beautiful summer morning on Howell Mountain. Take a look at our entire portfolio of wines, too and please schedule yourself for a visit soon.