Heitz is famous for its three legendary vineyard designated Cabernet Sauvignons from “Martha’s vineyard”, “Bella Oaks Vineyard” and “Trailside Vineyard”. And more recently for its "Linda Falls Vineyard" which is now selling in Japan for the first time. As the production of each vineyard designated wine is so small the number and the quantity produced are marked on each label.
Joe Heitz himself is considered to be the founder of fine wine in California. Or in the words of Hugh Johnson “In many eyes the first name in California. An inspired individual winemaker who has set standards for the whole industry.”
When Heitz cellars opened in 1961, the Napa Valley had fewer than twenty wineries. Within a few years Heitz Cellars had outgrown the original 3.2 hectare premises and purchased the 65 hectare residence and ranch on Taplin Road, a narrow fold in the hills just east of St. Helena. Heitz wines are aged in a stone cellar which dates from 1898 and was built by the previous owner Anton Rossi and his family. Early records indicate that the Rossi’s were making about 10,000 gallons of wine a year in this cellar.
While the cellar is still used to store their wine, Heitz added a second building in 1972 as part of their program to reach a peak production of 40,000 cases a year. The new building holds Heitz red wines, first in stainless steel fermenters, then in a complex variety of oak tanks and barrels from American and European forests.
Traditionally their red wines are released in the fifth year after harvest (the industry standard is 3 for quality wines worldwide, including first growths) in small quantities over a five year period. Which means we can obtain older Californian vintages (unusual in itself) direct from the winery where we know they have been stored under ideal conditions. The Building program was completed in 1979 by the addition of a warehouse which includes a modern bottling room.
In 2018, the winery entered an exciting new chapter as the Heitz family passed this rich legacy into the hands of the Lawrence family, whose deep roots in agriculture and commitment to the same core values of fine winemaking made it a perfect match. With Gaylon M. Lawrence, Jr. at the helm, the winery will continue to offer wines in the quintessential Heitz style. Made with an unwavering commitment to quality from organically farmed, 100% Napa Valley fruit, Heitz wines represent the Lawrences’ agrarian roots and commitment to the stewardship of Napa Valley.
A leader in agricultural stewardship, 100% of their vineyards are grown certified CCOF organic, with a move towards biodynamic farming in the near future.