By Lisa Rowlands

Established in 1988, Wild Horse Valley is amongst the United States’ smallest viticultural areas with just forty hectares under vine out of a defined region of around one-thousand-four-hundred. Despite its tiny size and relative obscurity, the valley’s unique location and climate help to create a terroir that is ideal for producing low yields of high quality, well balanced fruit. The valley floor is some four-hundred metres above sea level and vineyards here enjoy long periods of intense sunshine, gentle moderating breezes from the bay and a significant difference in temperature between day and night. The soils - typically volcanic, rocky, thin and free draining - produce aromatic, characterful wines which express the unique aspects of the terroir.

Viticulture has a history in Wild Horse Valley dating back to the late nineteenth century, but perhaps owing to the terrain, only a small fraction of the available land remains planted to vine and just one winery exists within the appellation’s bounds. Although partly contained within the prestigious Napa Valley AVA, local producers are increasingly using the less well known ‘Wild Horse Valley’ label on their bottles when sourcing grapes from this area, thus bringing more widespread attention to this tiny pocket of Napa that has spent so long outside of the limelight.