Grape Growing History of Oak Knoll
Oak Knoll History in Napa Valley’s Wine Country
In 1886, Hamden McIntyre built Eshcol Winery. The impressive three story building used gravity flow technology to streamline production. Early wines made by Eshcol were critically acclaimed. The winery was best known for Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Biale Family moved to the Napa Valley during the 1920s and has been making wine ever since. They recently opened a new winery and tasting room on Big Ranch Road in Oak Knoll. An appointment is required for tasting.
In 1968, Eugenio Trefethen bought 600 acres Oak Knoll, including the Eshcol property. The land that Gene Trefethen bought was not being used for commercial wine production. Some scattered vines were the only remnant of the vibrant wine production that once took place on the property. He initially began planting new vineyards and selling the grapes to other wineries.
In 1973, John Trefethen established Trefethen Winery and began the painstaking process of restoring the historic property. The old production facilities have been restored to excellent condition. It is currently the only working example of a gravity flow winery in the Napa Valley.
Jeff Corley arrived in the region in 1970 and began establishing his vineyards. He initially planted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay but has since planted some fuller bodied red varietals. After selling his grapes for several years, Corley began making his own wine during the 1980s. The winery currently makes an excellent Pinot Noir that has a nice balance of ripe fruit flavors and acidity.
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