Oak Knoll District
Oak Knoll District is one of Napa Valley’s oldest AVA sub appellations. The Oak Knoll District dates back to the 1850s, planting the first vines during the California Gold Rush, and expanding throughout the 19th century. Only a few years after planting its vines, Oak Knoll was named the state’s best farm by the California Agricultural Society.
Sadly, diseases and the prohibition killed off a significant portion of Napa’s wine industry in the early 20th century. It wasn’t until the 1960s when Trefethen vineyards began rehabilitating the winery by replanting the vineyards.
In 2004, the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley was formally recognized as the 14th American Viticultural Area (AVA) of Napa Valley by the federal government. Local vine growers faced serious bureaucratic struggles to gain independent recognition for their terroir, so they were happily surprised by this announcement.
The Oak Knoll District being located near San Pablo means it is one of Napa’s cooler AVAs. In fact, its status as a separate AVA stems from this climate coolness. With a warm spring and a cool summer, the growing season can span more than eight months giving the grapes ample time to fully ripen, develop complexity, and not lose any critical acidity.
There are 18 wine grapes planted within the 3360 hectare (8300 acre) Oak Knoll District AVA. Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot are the most heavily planted Oak Knoll District wines. Prestigious wineries from outside the AVA regularly buy from the Oak Knoll District wineries, valuing their whites, specifically Chardonnay, which due to the benefits of an extended growing period carries a balance of sugar and acidity that is rarely found in this part of California.
Oak Knoll has made significant progress establishing itself in the top tier of Napa Valley AVAs, however it is not to be confused with the longer established, prestigious Oakville, located only a short distance to the north.
We are lucky to feature wines from this incredible region with our wine of the month club members. Enjoy!