On one of California’s earliest wine estates, a unique terroir and ideal microclimate support a classical standard of viticulture, land use, and winemaking that is as relevant today as it was over a century ago. An intimate valley within the greater Napa Valley, Stags’ Leap is a place of natural beauty, storied buildings and gardens, a lively history, and a reputation for elegant wines showing finesse and intensity.
Estate Founder Horace Chase partnered with his uncle, W. W. Thompson, on land where grapes had been planted in the 1880s by T.L. Grigsby (of nearby Occidental Winery, today’s Regusci Winery). The construction of the Manor House in 1890 was followed by the blasting of the Historic Wine Cave and first vintage in 1893. By 1895 production on the estate was up to 40,000 gallons of wine.
The Stags Leap name originated in the late 1880s with the founding Chase family, and is attributed to a native Wappo legend of a stag leaping to escape hunters. The mountains behind the property on the eastern side came to be known as the Stags Leap Palisades.
Wine production has been interrupted periodically since the first Chase vintage due to financial reversals, Prohibition, and war; however, wine grapes have been grown continuously on the estate since its founding.
A fashionable country resort in the mid-twentieth century (the Grange Era), popular with Hollywood due to its 1890s stone Manor House and historic gardens, legends of bootleggers and gangsters, ghosts and gypsies, Stags’ Leap has been home to three major family groups up through the modern revitalization of the winery that began in the 1970s.