Quintessa Winery is an architecturally intriguing winery located on the west side of the Silverado Trail just north of Rutherford Cross Road. The estate encompasses 280 acres; the winery was founded in 1989 by well-known Chilean vintners Agustin Huneeus and his wife Valeria. Quintessa is part of a winery/brand portfolio owned by Huneeus Vintners including Illumination (a very limited production Sauvignon Blanc sourced from a tiny block on the Quintessa property), Napa Valley based Faust Vineyard (see our separate review on this site), Flowers Vineyards & Winery (a Sonoma County based winery), Leviathan, a Napa Valley brand founded by winemaker Andy Erickson and Willamette Valley based Benton-Lane Winery. Both Agustin and Valeria were born in Chile and are wine industry veterans. Valeria is a microbiologist and viticulturist and was the one who originally discovered the land for sale that is now home to Quintessa. Agustin inherited a fishing business from his father in his 20s – but an opportunity soon presented itself to invest in Vina Concha Y Toro – a small winery at the time that he ultimately helped build into Chile’s largest producer. By age 27 in 1960, Agustin was the CEO of Concha y Toro. In the early 1970’s he worked at Seagram, beginning with Seagram Argentina and within a few years, overseeing their worldwide operations from New York. Later he became involved in a remarkable number of wine ventures including Noble Vineyard, Concannon in Livermore, Franciscan Estate and Flowers Winery; in 1999 he founded Huneeus Vintners (owns Quintessa among other brands and properties). They had a controlling interest in Veramonte Estate since the early 1990s – near the town of Casablanca (about an hour west of Santiago) until selling this in 2016 – although they still own more then 6,000 acres in the region. Agustin and Valeria’s son Agustin Francisco oversaw their family’s wine holdings until 2019. Quintessa specializes in one premium Cabernet Sauvignon each vintage; this wine is reflective of their great attention to detail in the vineyards as well as with the wine making. Their motto is “fine wine is a reflection of place” and their wines reflect the specific terroir of their property. This was one of the last large “virgin” Napa Valley floor properties available at the time of purchase in 1989; remarkably it was never planted to grapes before. The site is located in the Rutherford appellation and is a mix of both hillside and valley floor vineyards. Their first commercially released vintage was from 1994. Their vineyards are organically farmed using at times bio-dynamic practices. This involves several primary factors; building the soil organically using special natural compost, philosophically farm (prune and harvest based on phases of the moon and planets) and control pests and diseases without chemicals (cover crops, use plants that attract beneficial insects).
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