atlas peak wineries

Atlas Peak Wineries

atlas peak varietals
SizeApprox. 3,000 acres
Elevation1,500 – 2,700 feet
ClimateHigh daytime temps, cool nights
Primary GrapeCabernet Sauvignon

Welcome to Atlas Peak: Napa Valley’s High-Flying AVA

As you venture north from Napa into the rolling golden hills dotted with orderly rows of vineyards, you’ll eventually reach a point where the road starts winding and climbing. The valley floor gives way to slopes and rocky outcrops. You’ve arrived at Atlas Peak.

Dotting these mountainside vineyards are roughly 30 wineries calling Atlas Peak home. Small-production estates like Atlas Peak Vineyards and Antica Napa Valley offer tastings with a personal touch. The views provide a window into Napa Valley’s breathtaking beauty. Meanwhile, more prominent names like Beringer and Antinori source Atlas Peak fruit to add regional character to their wines.

[This list is in development; check back soon!]

Napa’s Highest Elevation

Rising 2,670 feet at its summit, Atlas Peak is one of Napa’s tallest mountains, lending its rugged personality to the Atlas Peak AVA. Established in 1992, the Atlas Peak AVA contains around 3,000 acres of vineyards planted at elevations from 1,500 to 2,700 feet. That makes it one of Napa’s highest-elevation AVAs. All this altitude means the climate is a little different up here – you’ll find warmer daytime temperatures and more dramatic drops at night as cool air flows down the mountainside. Expect big swings from around 90°F in the afternoon to 50°F at night!

Atlas Peak soil composition

The soils derive from volcanic activity and contain rocky deposits like andesite and tufa. This is a boon for vines, as the porous crushed volcanic material drains well while retaining moisture. But the rocky composition means there aren’t abundant nutrients for the vines. The natural challenges of Atlas Peak’s terroir produce low yields of small, concentrated berries packed with flavor. It’s the perfect recipe for crafting intense, age-worthy wines.

Atlas Peak History

Winegrowing on Atlas Peak traces back to the 1870s when William Hartmann planted the first vines at La Jota Vineyard. More vineyards popped up in the 1880s to supply the growing wine boom in Napa Valley. But Prohibition soon put a halt on the budding Atlas Peak wine region. The vineyards were abandoned mainly as wine production came to a standstill from 1919 to 1933.

Atlas Peak Revival

The Renaissance began slowly in the 1960s as Napa’s wine industry recovered. Visionary pioneers realized Atlas Peak’s potential for premium wine grape production. Vines were replanted with a focus on Cabernet Sauvignon, which thrives on the mountain. Today, Atlas Peak produces some of Napa’s most robust yet nuanced Cabernets. Expect concentrated dark berry flavors paired with notes of mountain herbs, cocoa powder, and dusty minerals that speak to the volcanic soils. These complex wines evolve beautifully over a decade or more.

What Grapes are grown in Atlas Peak

While Cabernet Sauvignon makes up 60% of Atlas Peak’s vineyards, other varieties can be found. The area provides prime conditions for cultivating Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Malbec. For white wines, Atlas Peak’s altitude suits Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. There’s even some Sangiovese, Syrah, and Petit Verdot scattered among the vines.

The Final Sip

No matter what brings you to Napa, venture off the beaten path to discover Atlas Peak’s elevated vineyards and volcanic vigor. This mountainous AVA epitomizes Napa Valley’s potential to craft intensely structured, world-class wines that evolve gracefully through the years. The Atlas Peak experience will stick with you long after you’ve returned home, calling you back to discover more of what this unique region offers.

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