VIADER Vineyards & WineryStory
When you taste wine from a great vineyard, it has a distinct personality; a taste, a feel, a look; something that makes it different from any vineyard in the world. This distinct personality, however, is the sum of a variety of personalities within the vineyard itself. Understanding and interpreting those personalities is the greatest challenge in the evolution of a great vineyard and the wine produced from it .
The StoryVIADER is a leading first growth Napa Valley winery and vineyard estate locatedjust northeast of St. Helena on the steep rocky slopes of Howell Mountain at an elevation of 1300 feet. VIADER is recognized around the world for consistently producing award winning, very limited production red wines and Bordeaux-style blends.
Founding winemaker Delia Viader, PhD. applies a unique approach to grapegrowing and winemaking, challenging new world conventions while honoring old world traditions; resulting in a highly sought after and coveted cult wine – their flagship VIADER “Liquid Cashmere” Proprietary Red Blend. Delia forged the vision for this hillside estate vineyard and exceptional wine blend in 1986.
Today, Alan and Janet Viader join their mother Delia in the continuation of the VIADER estate. Through their direct involvement in daily operations, this multigenerational family business manifests a commitment to world-class winemaking and vineyard management, while offering an elevated yet welcoming level of hospitality.
The FounderBorn in Argentina and having spent her formative years in Europe, one could say that Proprietor Delia Viader is a citizen of the world. She speaks several languages and originally moved to the United States in the early 1980’s to pursue post-graduate studies in both Business Administration and Philosophy.
She decided to pursue her passion for winemaking in Napa Valley, California, and initially partnered with her father on the purchase of an undeveloped plot atop Howell Mountain. Starting from square one, all while raising four children on her own, Delia forged the vision and design for this unique estate vineyard property, wine blend and brand.
Delia has earned the reputation as a pioneer for planting the vines running directly down the mountain, in a style normally found in Europe. Eventually Delia’s vineyards on Howell Mountain were regarded as an ideal model for growing super-premium quality grapes.
The original focus on Cabernet Franc as the main blending component, thought to be radical upon release, was a natural harkening back to Delia’s European roots and her love of Cheval Blanc.
Because of Delia’s dedication, persistence and attention to high ideals, VIADER was recognized early on as a first growth property and the wines have been highly coveted since inception.
Viader is an elegant wine showing the staying power delivered from a blend of mountain grown Cabernet Sauvignon highly influenced by Cabernet Franc. It’s a wine that involves all your senses and presents itself as pure natural harmony, and serves as the perfect background music to an evening’s conversation between two good friends. From the aromatics that entice the first sip from the glass…to the deep color and dense complex layers of dark fruit that holds your interest…our wine delivers without ever taxing your palate. Everything in our wine invites a pleasant sense of wellbeing. That’s what I describe as the absolute aftertaste of a great wine. It should be like the sense of the onrushing joy, of being alive! Truly transforming.
– Delia Viader
The WinesVIADER is recognized around the world for consistently producing award winning, very limited production red wines and red Bordeaux-style blends.
The first VIADER“Liquid Cashmere” Proprietary Red Blend was produced in 1989. Featuring high levels of Cabernet Franc with Cabernet Sauvignon as its base element, this blend was a daring diversion from other Cabernet-based wines being made in Napa Valley. This has come to be the signature wine from VIADER, and is affectionately called VIADER “Liquid Cashmere” Proprietary Red Blend.
Over the years, the portfolio of wine selections has grown to include a handful of other limited production wines. The “V” is a reserve Bordeaux-style blend featuring Petit Verdot. The VIADER “Black Label” Estate Limited Edition is a unique blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, and was created by second generation winemaker Alan Viader. The DARE by Viader line features single varietal wines such as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Syrah, dry Rose, and on occasion a Tempranillo. The limited DARE by Viader releases are made from selected vineyards around the Napa Valley.
The TerroirPrecariously positioned on dangerously rocky terrain, the VIADER vines defy adversity, testifying to the courage and determination necessary to pioneer this distinctive Cabernet Sauvignon.
Emulating a European design quite rare in California, the vines are oriented up and down the steep hillsides, a planting method that optimizes sun exposure, vine density and erosion control. Planting on such a steep grade of 32 % is a challenge and requires meticulous hand farming.
The soil for the vineyard at VIADER is mainly the rocky remnants of this former volcano. The volcanic loamy soils offer superior drainage for each of the VIADER estate varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Syrah. The lack of topsoil stresses the plant and forces the grapevine to concentrate all of its resources into the production of the fruit.
The Vineyard was planted in order to best represent the distinctiveness of this incredibly challenging terroir. The orientation of the vine rows gives the optimum conditions for the ripening of the fruit. The afternoon sun shines directly over the top of the canopy of the grapevines, which filters the light and prevents the grapes from receiving direct sunlight which can damage the fruit.
In addition, the mountain breezes can easily flow between the rows, which are positioned up and down the mountain, as opposed to the traditional method of close-to-contour terracing. This is especially important in the hot months before harvest, and during the last months of winter, when temperatures drop and there is threat of frost.
Moreover, the volcanic rock component in the ground absorbs the heat, and releases it after sunset. In rainy seasons, the same volcanic bedrock provides excellent drainage for the vines and their root systems, so that the vines are not overwatered. At harvest, we harvest grapes that are more concentrated and full of flavor.
Spacing in the VIADER vineyard is very tight at 2,200 vines per acre, planted every 5′ x 4′ — approximately four times the average planting density. Furthermore, VIADER prides itself in producing wines that are organically grown, hand-farmed, with very low yields per acre. Average yields are fewer than 2 tons per acre.