Arns Winery is located in the eastern hills of the St Helena AVA. John Arns and Sandi Belcher are the owners of the winery and estate 9 acre Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard.
John has been in the wine business for over 25 years. After graduating from UC Berkeley, he earned a Master’s Degree from UC Davis. Sandi Belcher has been the winemaker at Long Vineyards for 27 years. She graduated from the College of William and Mary followed by UC Davis.
The hillside vineyard is planted at elevations ranging from 400 to 800 feet above the valley floor. 9 separate blocks of vineyards totaling 9 acres are scattered over the 160 acre property. These organically farmed vines are densely planted to encourage competition for nutrients. This ensures low yields (1.5 to 2 tons per acre) of very high quality grapes.
The estate grapes are planted in hillside soils comprised of Red Aiken loam. These oxidized soils are highly desired for Cabernet Sauvignon. The property was originally planted in the 19th century but the vines fell into disrepair after Prohibition was enacted. In the 1960s, the vineyard began to be replanted. Arns and Belcher are continually improving clonal selections and slowly expanding their vines.
Arns Winery makes 3 wines: the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and Napa Valley Syrah. Production is extremely low, and Arns and Belcher do not plan to ever make more than 2,000 cases a year.
The first vintage Arns Winery produced was the 1992 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. They exclusively made this wine until the Napa Valley Cab was added in 2002 and the Napa Valley Syrah was added in 2004.
The 2004 Arns Syrah was made with grapes from Melanson Vineyard on Prichard Hill east of the Oakville AVA. This wine was aged in French oak and has the classic red fruit, black pepper, and cured meat flavors that Syrah is known for. A mere 90 cases were produced.