Hill Family Estate, one of the best family-owned and operated wineries in Napa Valley, has produced high-quality wines since the introduction of their inaugural vintage in 2001. While the winemaking portion of the business is relatively new, Doug Hill has been developing and managing vineyards throughout Napa and Sonoma Valleys for four decades.
Doug Hill’s vast knowledge of the many microclimates and soil types throughout the region has led him to manage, acquire, and even develop some of the best vineyards in the Napa Valley region.
Doug oversees 800 acres of vineyards in the Napa Valley, including twelve unique vineyard sites that are reserved for Hill Family Estate wines. These vineyards dot the map from the southernmost Carneros growing area to Atlas Peak further north. Each vineyard has unique growing characteristics.
Two Atlas Peak vineyards situated east of our Yountville wine-tasting location are Briarstone and Baker-Mansfield.
In the late 1980s, Doug Hill searched for suitable growing areas around Atlas Peak. At 1,500 feet above sea level, he identified one location with ideal soil and volcanic ash content with ample rocky drainage. Later, having also experienced the discomfort of briar-induced cuts and scratches as he explored, Doug appropriately named this future vineyard site Briarstone. The first vines were planted in 1990.
In addition to excellent soil conditions, Briarstone is situated above the Napa Valley fog line. This elevation provides more moderate temperatures plus an additional sunlight advantage during the growing season. Briarstone’s growing conditions are ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.
Fully aware of the advantages of growing wine grapes in the Atlas Peak area, Doug Hill looked to expand near Briarstone. He developed the Baker-Mansfield vineyard in 2002 at almost the same elevation, 1,480 feet above sea level. The fog that often blankets Napa Valley on many mornings usually does not reach the vineyard.
Baker-Mansfield is also blessed with red soil and some volcanic ash to create more concentrated fruit flavors. The vineyard is ideal for producing excellent Cabernet, Malbec, Syrah, and Sauvignon Blanc.