Duckhorn Wine Company has acquired the prized Three Palms Vineyard in Napa Valley after 37 years of making acclaimed Merlot using its fruit.

Describing the 33 hectare site as ‘North America’s greatest Merlot vineyard’ and ‘the crown jewel of our estate programme’, Duckhorn said it had bought the vineyard from Sloan and John Upton for an undisclosed price.

The company has been purchasing all of the vineyard’s grapes since 2011 and has pledged to continue to use the fruit exclusively in Duckhorn Vineyards wines.

‘This is a very special day for us,’ said Duckhorn founder and chairman Dan Duckhorn. ‘We have championed the remarkable character and quality of Merlot from Three Palms Vineyard since our debut vintage.’

Duckhorn launched its first Three Palms Merlot in 1978 at $12.5 per bottle. It has sold recent vintages for around $100-a-bottle.

Three Palms is known for its sparse loam soils – vines have been known to send their roots as deep as 18ft in search of nutrients – and volcanic stones, which absorb the sun’s heat and reflect it back to the vines at night.

Of the 29 hectares under vine, 20 hectares are planted to Merlot, with the rest given over to Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.

Duckhorn now has seven vineyards in its Napa Valley estate programme, covering a total of 90 hectares under vine.

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Written by Richard Woodard