Reverie is located on Diamond Mountain in the northern section of the Napa Valley. The total 40 acre property has 30 acres planted in 9 different varieties of grapes. The vineyard’s elevation is not very high above sea level, and yet, from the base to the top, one of the steepest in the Napa Valley. It faces south and gets plenty of midday sun which helps to fully mature the grapes even in a cooler season. It can get quite warm up on the mountain, but during the night, the vineyard receives cool breezes from the Russian River area, which is beneficial to the grapes. The soil is volcanic and relatively infertile. As a result, our yields are low (under 2 tons per acre in most years), and the flavor of our grapes intense. The volcanic soil has very little ability to retain moisture and requires significant irrigation for the fruit to achieve maximum quality and to moderate the substantial tannins that mountain wines are known for. Unlike most California vineyards, the soil is low in magnesium and high in potassium.
In 1989-1990, the original owners had planted 3 varietals—about 80% of the vineyard was Cabernet Sauvignon (two clones) and 10% each of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. We purchased the vineyard in 1993, and two weeks later, had the first commercial harvest which we bottled under the name Daydream, not Reverie (meaning “dream” in French). The first production we considered worthy of labeling with Reverie came in 1995.
Right from the start, we loved the Cabernet Franc and immediately converted some of the existing Cabernet Sauvignon to additional Cabernet Franc. We also wanted to grow the other principal Bordelaise varietals, so we converted some Cabernet Sauvignon to small amounts of Petit Verdot and Malbec. For additional variety in the vineyard, we added small amounts of Barbera (an Italian varietal) and Tempranillo (a Spanish varietal). We were not enthusiastic about the original planting of Merlot. We converted it to a “suitcase clone” which a friend had obtained from Chateau Petrus, considered the best Merlot producer in the world. We were not finished with our changes. We wanted to grow a white grape, and after much discussion, decided on a Rhone varietal, Roussanne. Frankly, we knew very little about, but loved it, and now have 3 small sections of this variety.
Today Reverie has nine varieties of grapes–Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Barbera, Tempranillo, Grenache, and Roussanne. The vineyard is still primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, with 3 clones in 5 different sections. It is interesting that, from year to year, as we earmark which Cabernet Sauvignon grapes will be used in our flagship Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, we find no pattern or consistency with either the section or the clone. But, the absolute best sections of grapes are used each year to make the Special Reserve.
Over the years, we made major changes in the trellis system by converting the entire vineyard from the original T-trellis to the modern Vertical Shoot Positioning System (VSPS). This change opened the fruiting zone to more sunlight and airflow.
Our Vineyard Manager, Daniel Trejo, has been with us since 1995. His vineyard crew includes two full time employees, who have been with Reverie almost as long he has, and up to six seasonal employees.