Quintessa is comprised of a total of 280 acres of which 170 acres are planted to the classic Bordeaux grape varieties in 26 vineyard blocks as follows: Cabernet Sauvignon (129 acres), Merlot (26 acres), Cabernet Franc (7 acres), Petit Verdot (4 acres), and Carmenere (4 acres). The estate includes a valley, a lake, a river; five hills, four microclimates, and many soil types, as well as rich flora and fauna. The diversity of exposure, elevation, and microclimate and soil type produces 40 very different wines lots from the 26 different vineyard blocks. We believe the diversity of the property (Valleys, Terraces, Hilltops, Foothills and Riverside) contribute to the high quality and uniqueness of the fruit.
Originally part of the Caymus land grant, the property was purchased in the 1940s by George Mardikian, a high profile San Francisco restaurateur, owner of the renowned Omar Khayyam restaurant. Mardikian had grand plans for the property and believed it's destiny was to be a premium wine estate. George Mardikian died in the early 1980s never having fulfilled his dream.
The combination of the property's size, beauty and location in the heart of one of the world's greatest appellations, Rutherford, created a speculative frenzy among potential buyers. From the time of his death until the final sale in 1990, many prestigious vintners in the Napa Valley attempted to buy the property, several getting as far as escrow, without success.
When Valeria Huneeus first saw the property in late 1989, she felt a special connection to the wild undulating hills, studded with mature oak trees and the beautiful Dragon's Lake. Like others before her, she also recognized immediately that the property had the potential to be a wine estate of superlative caliber. Although many others had been unsuccessful in attempts to buy the property, Valeria believed that she and Agustin alone were to be the stewards of this unique property. Their combined years of experience in all aspects of the wine making and vineyard development made them uniquely suited to shephard this property to fulfill its great potential.
By patiently sharing her vision with the Mardikian family, Valeria won their trust and in 1990 they agreed to sell the land. Agustin and Valeria christened the property, Quintessa: a name that alludes to the five dramatic hills and five distinct microclimates included in the property's diverse geography unique in the Napa Valley and the belief they held that this property was destined to be the quintessential wine estate.
The story of Quintessa is really a story of destiny. That this unique property that was quite possibly the best parcel of land, in arguably the best appellation in Napa for growing the noble Bordeaux grape varietals had laid untouched for so long, when so many others before them tried to acquire it can be credited to nothing else than destiny. Agustin and Valeria believe this property was meant to be Quintessa.
The fact Quintessa had not been planted throughout the early growth in Napa Valley's vineyard development is paramount. While other vineyards were overtaken with phylloxera in the early 1980's and subsequently besieged by an onslaught of aggressive mechanical and chemical remedies, Quintessa was spared. When Valeria began to develop the vineyard in 1990, the soils were alive and healthy, and free from prior disease, farming abuses, or other limitations inherent in pre-existing vineyards. Agustin and Valeria Huneeus were able realize their vision for Quintessa and create a world class wine estate capable of producing a great wine.