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"It takes Rutherford dust to grow great Cabernet"
- Andre Tchelistcheff
Since the late 19th century, the growers and vintners of Rutherford have played a significant role in the development of Napa Valley as a world-class winegrowing region.
After tasting the 1936 vintage of what would become our Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Tchelistcheff noted that one of the most intriguing things about the wine was a whiff of clean dirt with a high-toned note, something like pencil shavings. He recognized it as the expression of a distinctive terroir – the very fragrance of Rutherford. To describe it, he would later coin the term “Rutherford dust.”
A Sense of Place
Nowadays, the phrase “Rutherford dust” reflects an enduring commitment to quality, a spirit of achievement, and a deep connection to Rutherford’s soil.
This wine growing region does have a unique sense of place. Between its location, soil, sun exposure, climate, topography, and terrior, wines produced from the grapes grown in Rutherford dust reflect a distinct character and have an enduring reputation for excellence. For these reasons, Beaulieu Vineyard made Rutherford home to many of our vineyards -- or "Ranches."
Beaulieu Vineyard Ranch No. 1
Georges and Fernande de Latour purchased the estate in Rutherford in 1900 for $12,000. At the time of the purchase much of the property was planted with fruit trees, but there was a small vineyard in which the de Latours could see a promised terrain for a fruitful expansion.
This terrain would become known as BV Ranch No. 1, planted with Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.
With its combination of warm days and the cooling effect of nearby San Pablo Bay, this site enjoys one of the longest growing seasons in Northern California for mature flavor development in the grapes.
Beaulieu Vineyard Ranch No. 2
In 1910, BV Ranch No. 2, which lies just south of BV Ranch No. 1 on the west side of Highway 29 in Rutherford, was purchased from the Catholic Church and planting began immediately, though this 146-acre vineyard was planted in stages and didn’t come into full production until 1920.
It was made up of 20 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, 15 acres of Pinot Noir, 12 acres of Mondeuse, and a smattering of Semillon, Sauvignon Verte, and Franken (Sylvaner).
Like BV Ranch No. 1, this site enjoys optimal sun exposure and cool fog for a long and even growing season to produce full bodied wines with the signature “Rutherford dust” profile first.
Beaulieu Vineyard Ranches No. 5, 8, and 9
BV Ranches No. 5, 8, and 9 are all located in the cool Carneros region of Napa Valley. Because Carneros sits on the tip of San Pablo Bay, it experiences fog, wind, and cool to moderate temperatures that make it ideal for growing cool-climate loving Burgundian varietals. It also has shallow and dense clay soils where Syrah and Merlot thrive.
We currently source Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot, Viognier, Pinot Gris, and Sauvignon Blanc from these Ranches.
Beaulieu Vineyard Ranch No. 10
BV Ranch No. 10 is located on four acres across from BV Ranches No. 1 and 2, on the east side of Highway 29 in Rutherford.
This is our experimental vineyard where we train many different varietals – including Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Valdiguie, and Carignane – on an array of trellising systems.
BV Ranch No. 10 is an important part of the ongoing viticultural research that results in innovative practices to continuously improve our wine quality.
Beaulieu Vineyard Ranch No. 11
Planted in 1968 and located in northern Napa Valley just south of Calistoga, the head-trained vines in this nine-acre section of old Zinfandel, called BV Ranch No. 11, yield extraordinarily concentrated, spicy wine.
The half-century old Zinfandel vines have not been replanted and are not protected from viruses and phylloxera, so the utmost care and attention is taken when farming this historic vineyard gem.