It is hard to believe that more than forty years ago Dan and Margaret Duckhorn founded Duckhorn Vineyards. What began with a mere 800 cases (12 bottles per case) of Cabernet Sauvignon and 800 cases of Merlot in 1978, Duckhorn Vineyards now has many arms of their dynasty including Canvasback winery in Washington as well as Goldeneye Winery out of the Anderson Valley, who is steadily producing a gorgeous lineup of Pinot Noirs. Their family extended projects include Paraduxx winery devoted exclusively to making Napa Valley blends, Migration dedicated to exploring Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from California’s finest cool-climate appellations, Decoy in Sonoma producing attractively priced wines made from exceptional vineyard sources, and Calera 0ne of the most compelling Pinot Noir specialists of not only the New World, but of Planet Earth according to Robert Parker.
Duckhorn Vineyards relies on seven estate vineyards for their wines and makes some of the most consistent Merlot in Napa Valley. In early 2014, Renée Ary became the fourth head winemaker for Duckhorn Vineyards winemakers that began with Tom Rinaldi in 1978. Her promotion came after 11 years after serving as both assistant and associate winemaker. Born and raised on the East Coast, Renée moved to California to attend Saint Mary’s College, where she earned a degree in chemistry and art. Fascinated by the intersection between science and an art, winemaking quickly became Renée’s passion, career and way of life. Her first job was working in the lab at Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville, as she trained under famed winemakers Genevieve Janssens, Steve Leveque and Richard Sowalsky. During that time, she took classes in winemaking and viticulture at UC Davis and Napa Valley College. Renée is a top notch winemaker that has a consistently great lineup of wines.