Napa Valley’s “Sweet Spot”
“The position of Oak Knoll District (OKD) at the mouth of the Napa Valley, with moderate temperatures maintained by the daily cool breezes off of the Bay, means that the fruit can ripen slowly, maintaining freshness and aromatic lift, while developing a soft and feminine mouthfeel with balanced alcohol and acidity.”
–Steve Matthiasson, Matthiasson Wines
The District lies at the southern end of the renowned Napa Valley where the growing season is longer—cooler in summer than the warmer Upper Valley and drier in winter allowing soils to warm earlier in the spring. The marine influence from San Pablo Bay is strong here with foggy mornings and cool summer nights. Summer daytime temperatures can average 10°F cooler than St. Helena. This creates the longest growing season in the valley, providing early bud break and a long, leisurely growing season for optimal, balanced ripeness. The cooler nights and slowly rising daytime temperatures create a naturally long hang time for fruit to achieve bright acidity, great texture, fruit-forward aromas and elegant flavors.
This even warming and cooling creates the quintessential “Sweet Spot”. One of the rare places in the Napa Valley where it’s warm enough to perfectly ripen red varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Zinfandel while being cool enough for grapes like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
There are more than 18 wine grape varieties cultivated in OKD, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot being the most heavily planted.
In the United States, official appellations (legally defined and protected geographical areas) are called American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs. The Napa Valley AVA, for example, has more than a dozen smaller defined AVAs within itself called sub-appellations. Among them, the Oak Knoll District (OKD) stands out for its unique growing conditions that enable cultivation of an exceptional diversity of wine grape varieties.
OKD plants more than 18 classic wine grape varieties with emphasis on Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot. Comprised of more than 8,300 acres and nearly 4,200 acres planted to grapevines.
OKD vineyard land is unique with 10°F cooler than Upper Napa Valley on any given summer day with 35 inches average annual rainfall. Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley was officially recognized as an American Viticultural Area (AVA) of Napa Valley in 2004.