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  • Theresa Downs

Cuvaison Estate Wines - Panoramic Views And Awesome Chardonnay

Part of a Chardonnay Winery Series

Cuvaison Estate Wines Details:

Address: 1221 Duhig Rd, Napa, CA 94559

Phone: (707) 942-2455 – (800) 253-9463

 Hours: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Daily

Appointments are required.

Tours/Tastings Offered: The winery offers three types of tastings that range up to $195.00 per person. Food pairings are available.

What's Their Story:

Cuvaison Estate Wines came into being when a Silicon Valley engineer, Thomas Parkhall, wanted to branch out from making home wine; he traveled to Napa to find premium grapes for a commercial enterprise. He, together with Tom Cotrell, founded Cuvaison in 1969. Looking for a snazzy name for their new winery, they came up with Cuvaison, a French wine production term used to describe the time during fermentation when the juice of the grapes is kept in contact with the seeds and skins to transfer color, structure, and aroma to the actual wine. Cuvaison Estates Wines' first vintage was in 1971, comprising a Chenin Blanc, a Napa Gamay, and their first Cabernet Sauvignon. No Chardonnay, you may note. Chardonnay would not be part of the winery's portfolio for some years. Cuvaison Estate Wines' first location was miles from its present location in Carneros. The original owner sold the winery in 1973,

The winery (Note: Cuvaison is pronounced Koo-veh-ZOHN) traded hands several times in the 1970s through sales and mergers. In 1979, the Schmidheiny family of Zurich, Switzerland, became the owners and are still at the helm of the winery today. They purchased an additional 400 acres in Carneros, prized in particular for growing stellar Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. It was the perfect place to raise and vinify Chardonnay, and they did!

Why The Winery Made The Grade: Chardonnay

Looks can be deceiving; Cuvaison Estate Wines seems like a party winery for first-time arrivals with its open, airy, enclosed tasting salon and huge outside patio. You're ready to let the good times roll! But it's a perception, not necessarily reality. Cuvaison is serious about its wine, given how the wine industry routinely grants high marks to its Chardonnay wines. We were particularly taken with their 2020 Chardonnay, Méthode Béton. Delicately perfumey with just the right touch of effervescence, it was a delight.

Another delight was the caviar service with potato chips pairing. Don't miss it unless you try it. It paired perfectly with the sparkling wine.


Cuvaison boasts an expansive interior tasting salon and an amazing patio with vistas far and wide. Here's the deal: They have one of the best patios we've seen (ever). I recommend the Tasting Salon Experience with caviar! Memorable!

Which Winery Visitor Type Would Love It:

All winery visitor types would enjoy this winery. Elegant enough to impress Luxury seekers, the non-snootiness factor should appear to Casual Wine Drinkers and all in between.

See the next Chardonnay blog in the series: The Donum Estate or read all of the Chardonnay blogs in our new guide, Chardonnay Wineries of Sonoma and Napa.

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