The renowned Harlan Estate rises above the oak forests of Oakville in the middle of the famous Napa Valley, the picturesque growing region north of San Francisco. The wines of the same name come from here, which achieve top ratings year after year and are regularly sold out in a very short time.
To the top of the world in just a few decades
The history of the winery begins in 1984. After Bill Harlan fell in love with the valley as a student in the 1950s and had already tried cultivating wine in a less suitable location in 1979, the entrepreneur finally acquired the 97-hectare property, back then still untouched property. With patience and a long-term perspective, he has since created one of the best-known American wineries, whose Cabernet Sauvignon is now considered by critics to be one of the most profound red wines in the world. The winemaker deliberately took the time to develop his property sustainably. Inspired by the long tradition of European wineries, he speaks of a 200-year strategy and is currently preparing to hand over the family business to the next generation. He started out as an absolute career changer himself - after professional experience as a motorcycle racer and real estate dealer, among other things.
One of the best locations in Napa Valley
Among the many good and very good wines in the region, the Harlan Estate stands out for its consistent, outstanding quality. Is it because really only the best locations on the property are used for growing wine? Just 17 of the 97 hectares of the property are planted with vines, which are carefully tended with great attention to detail. A special feature of the winery is the long-term cultivation strategy: Ever since the Harlan Estate was founded, the focus has not been on short-term returns over the next few years. Rather, the owner is concerned with the long-term achievement of exceptional quality - over a period of decades and centuries. Therefore, no compromises are made in the selection of the vines and the selection of the grapes. The foundation stone for a long, productive future has already been laid on the sedimentary and volcanic rock of the steep vineyards.
Classic Bordeaux wines of premium quality
The classic grape varieties of Bordeaux are grown in the Harlan Estate at an altitude of up to 374 m above sea level. About 70% are made from Cabernet Sauvignon and a good 20% from Merlot vines. In addition, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot are cultivated. Harlan launched the 1990 vintage as the first wine. The 1994 successor was already ennobled by the well-known critic Robert Parker with a perfect rating of 100 points. The winemaker has now been able to repeat this success seven times. Despite the comparatively short history of his estate, he has long been one of the stars of the Cabernet scene. He has long been able to achieve prices for his wines that are otherwise only achieved by the most renowned wines from Bordeaux.
A special feature of the top wine Harlan Proprietary Red is its incomparable lightness with a high alcohol content. This peculiarity is due to the special microclimate at the slight altitude. While the Napa Valley is blessed with plenty of sun, morning Pacific mists keep the valley environment cool. The soil on the surface is also quite poor, so that the vines have to penetrate deep into the rock with their roots and only gradually develop fertile, calcareous layers. New vintages of the wine are usually sold out within a few days. No wonder: Long-standing customers and enthusiasts get access to the coveted bottles and crates via mailing lists, even before the first sale in the open trade begins. The high demand with limited supply ensures the long-term value of the wine and makes it a lucrative investment.