Great wine is more than just a good bottle of red or white - it’s an experience. That’s certainly what Stags’ Leap believes - there’s just that touch of grandeur and glamour as you enjoy some seriously fabulous wine.

In the decades after its first vines were planted back in the late 1800s, Stags’ Leap became synonymous for grand hospitality and lavish parties. With a stunning manor house and a near endless supply of the perfect wine, it’s no surprise that it became the venue du jour for society’s highflyers.

Around the turn of the 20th century, the grand estate was often frequented by celebrities and royals hosted by the property’s socialite owners. They were famous for their outstanding hospitality, and that hasn’t been forgotten - today, a visit to this beautiful winery is a step back in time, and a true experience to be savored.

Although there’s a hearty dash of old school glamour, the winery is at the cutting edge of wine production. With a passionate French winemaker at the helm, and an ever-burgeoning reputation, now is the time to experience the delights of this winery. There’s something for everyone, but red drinkers in particular are sure to be enchanted by their bold and balanced Cabernet Sauvignon - amongst other treasures.

Walk in the footsteps of high society at the stunning Stags' Leap. With a beautiful and luxurious manor house overlooking the vines, it’s a romantic and elegant wine tasting experience that’s not to be missed.

History of Stags' Leap

Stags' Leap winery is one of the oldest and grandest estates in the esteemed Napa Valley region. In fact, this beautiful vineyard proudly takes its place amongst the pioneers of the American wine industry, with its vines first planted well over a century ago.

The history of Stags' Leap winery began back in 1872, when the very first grapes were planted by T.L. Grigsby. However, it would be about a decade later that prominent socialites Horace Chase and Minnie Mizner coined the name ‘Stags' Leap’. The name was inspired by a local legend and has stuck for more than a century!

During this time, the happy couple also built a beautiful home to live in, overlooking the property. The first commercially labelled ‘Stags' Leap’ wine was produced in 1893, and between then and 1905, tens of thousands of gallons of wine were produced.

Meanwhile, the Manor at Stags' Leap was known for its raucous parties - many of which were attended by A-Listers, including actors and even the occasional royal.

Around 1905, the property stopped producing its own label, although its grapes were sold to other producers in the region. It wouldn’t be until 1972 that the proud tradition of winemaking resumed at the estate, with the intrepid Carl Doumani at the helm.

There were an experimental few years at Stags' Leap, with a significant replant of its vineyards in 1988. Since then, it’s been a label on the rise - and current winemaker, Christophe Paubert, has certainly steered Stags' Leap to grand new heights.

What to expect

Tasting at Stags' Leap is strictly by appointment only, as the property is nestled at the end of a private road. Those who are lucky enough to visit are treated to an utterly delightful experience, with just a touch of historic ambiance.

The castle-like mansion was once the epicenter of high society, and original owners Horace and Minnie Chase Mezner certainly new how to entertain. It’s an ethos that’s permeated the modern approach - every guest to Stags' Leap is treated to fabulous hospitality.

Tastings at Stags' Leap are more than just a few sips of wine. It’s a holistic journey through the history of the vineyard, as you are welcome to tour the estate and learn more about its unique history and terroir. Guided by the enthusiastic staff, everyone from wine novices to pros are sure to learn something.

Don’t worry - there will be plenty of tasting, too.

Hailing from France, head winemaker Cristophe Paubert certainly knows a thing or two about crafting incredible wine. His signature hands-on style aims to bring out the best in the grapes, allowing the rich flavors to speak for themselves and shine. Gentle nudges create balance - crafting wine that is intense in flavor yet soft in tannins; complex, yet approachable.

Location and Climate

The estate’s vineyards cover about 85 acres, all of which are located within the designated Stags' Leap AVA. This recognizes the unique characteristics of the estate, and its long history producing wine in the wider Napa region.

In particular, the winery is unique due to its microclimate. Its topography means that the sun is blocked during the morning yet retained in the afternoon. Another unique feature is the abundance of rock which adds a richness to the soil and also radiates heat. As a result, grapes grown at Stags' Leap are famously balanced - perfectly situated between acidic and sweet.

The climate and terroir of Stags' Leap is particularly well suited to red varietals, with a particular flair for Cabernet Sauvignon. That said, white and rose drinkers aren’t entirely neglected - you’ll find some great approachable options.

Awards and Accolades

The Stags' Leap Audentia is quickly securing its name as one of the best of an impressive bunch of Napa Valley wines. Notching up 96 points from Wine Selector in both 2014 and 2015, this is a wine of great depth and complexity.

Wines to Try

You certainly can’t miss the Audentia, the bold and balanced Cabernet Sauvignon that’s quite the talk of the town. This intense red is ideal for cellaring for a decade or more, so it’s one of those showstoppers to put away for a while.

For a different style of wine, the Investor Red Blend is designed to mimic the makeup of vineyards across the property. With Malbec, Petit Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, it’s an incredibly balanced wine. It’s great for easy drinking now, or it could be put away for a few years.

Not into the reds or just looking to widen your palette? The Selection Chardonnay notched up an impressive 92 points in 2017, so it’s certainly worth a try.