Colgin Cellars, one of the most exclusive of the California 'cult' producers, has built a new winery and taken on eight hectares of land in St Helena, Napa Valley.

The winery on Sage Canyon Road has only just been completed but the winemaking area was ready to crush the 2002 vintage. With the new land, owner Ann Colgin says they will be upping production to some 2,500 cases.

The new vineyards, which overlook Lake Hennessy to the east of St Helena and are adjacent to another cult winery, David Arthur, are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Syrah.

The land, which Colgin bought from the owners of the David Arthur winery, is very high and steep, standing at around 400-500m. Colgin said she complied with the Napa Valley Hillside Ordinance, a measure designed to protect the valley sides from overplanting. She was not allowed to plant on part of the land which had more than a 30% slope.

The soil is exceptionally stony, east-facing, and cooled by Lake Hennessy, all of which makes for a long growing season. Other high-end wineries such as Bryant Family and Dalla Valle are nearby.

Ann Colgin told decanter.com they produced ‘a tiny amount’ of wine from the 2002 vintage, but nothing will be commercially available until at least 2006. She could give no idea of price but said, ‘I believe the terroir is exceptional. This will be the best wine we produce.’

Colgin Cellars wines fetch some of the highest prices in California – if not the world. In September 2001 at Sotheby’s in New York two bottles of 1997 Colgin Herb Lamb Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon went for US$2,990 (€2,815) and in June 1997 a case of 1994 Colgin sold for US$16,100 (€15,158).

Written by Adam Lechmere7 April 2003