A Hidden Retreat
A Hidden Retreat
Nestled in the hills above the Napa Valley at 1,550 feet, Kenzo Estate encompasses 3,800 acres, five times the size of New York’s Central Park. Only 150 acres of the unspoiled, wild woodlands have been planted to vines. Protected within this preserve are spring-fed reservoirs, vernal pools, streams and diverse forests of conifer, oak and manzanita. Wild boar, coyote, mountain lion, deer, turkey, and bobcat linger in the wilderness and are occasionally observed by guests and those attending to the estate. The land is truly a welcome escape from the outside world.
Protected by a perimeter of peaks, Kenzo Estate’s vineyards account for a mere 4% of the total landscape. Marine fog, pulled into the mountain valley from the San Pablo Bay, blankets the estate during the early morning hours of the growing season. This cooling effect suppresses summertime temperatures and extends the harvest period, allowing the clusters time to achieve ideal ripeness while preserving organic acidity and phenols. This results in rich, concentrated flavors.
“I recognized the vast potential of
Kenzo Estate’s terroir.”
Viticulturist David Abreu
The soils are predominantly of the Hambright series, which consist of shallow loam weathered from basic igneous rock. The challenging terrain provides an expansive palate of geologic variety, yielding mountain fruit with intense flavor, muscular power and refined elegance. Beginning in 2002, famed viticulturist David Abreu planted Bordeaux varietals in nine phases, utilizing 18 different clones and six rootstock selections. Each vineyard block is planted to maximize the grape’s varietal characteristics.
The winery at Kenzo Estate marks the epicenter of the property. Designed by renowned architects Backen, Gillam & Kroeger, the winery structures and cave portals are an inviting blend of natural wood and stone, each set in the style of traditional California barns with touches of Japanese influence throughout.
Set into a peaceful vale, the winery is surrounded by ancient olive trees.
The tank rooms are comprised of three state-of-the-art buildings, with one dedicated solely to the production of white and rosé wines and the largest space marked for crafting red wines.
Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon are gently whole-cluster pressed in the white winery and then transferred to ferment in a combination of neutral oak barrels and stainless tanks. In the red winery, berries are carefully separated by hand and meticulously sorted so that only the perfect fruit goes to press. Juice is then moved by natural pressure to stainless steel or concrete tanks where it is gently pumped over or punched down daily for two weeks.
The wines are gently laid to rest in aging caves built directly into the hillside adjacent to the winery. Lush greenery grows thickly on the knoll above, absorbing solar heat and creating a naturally cool temperature between 57 and 62 degrees. The cave’s 20,000 square feet of tunnels were designed with keen architectural detail. The grid pattern aligns with the vine rows and is ideally functional for the cellar team.
Since 2010, the Kenzo Estate tasting room hosts Kenzo Tsujimoto’s dream to share this special place with guests from around the world. The serene space features flagstone and oak furnishings bathed in natural light. Tastings are hosted on the vineyard-side patio, and in two private terrace spaces. All spaces allow for soaking in vineyard views and the enchanting estate property, including 100-year olive trees.