The tale began in the early 1850s when Dr. George Beldon Crane set sail around South America before landing in San Francisco in 1852. After spending three years in the Santa Clara Valley, he settled in St. Helena in 1855 where he purchased 300+ acres. This was where Crane’s vision inched closer to reality. It was said that growing grapes of any kind in this region would be a ludicrous effort, however, Crane’s determination would soon tell otherwise.
Nested in the alluvial fan of the Mayacamas Mountain range in southern St. Helena, it is believed that here is where G.B. Crane first established grapes on the site back in 1858 where he was set to produce wines that would rival the best in the world. He began his mission by introducing Napa to Vinifera (European) Varietals. Although records are scarce, it was most likely planted as a field blend commonly known as “mixed blacks”. This field blend traditionally consisted of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignan, and a smattering of lesser-known grape varieties such as Alicante Bouschet, Mourvedre and Valdiguie.
Of the 6.5 acres in production, there is a 1.3-acre block of Cabernet Sauvignon, a .9-acre block of Petite Sirah, two rows of Merlot, and approximately 4 acres of Crane’s original plantings (1885, post phylloxera) and younger (1930) “mixed blacks” plantings. This four-acre block has been continuously farmed for nearly one hundred and sixty-five years by a number of different people…and now it is our turn to take on that responsibility.
From our estate, we produce two wines, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a field blend born from G.B. Crane’s original plantings named El Coco. In addition to our two estate wines, we craft a third wine, a zinfandel blend from heritage vineyards found throughout the Napa Valley named Disciples.
Our mission and passion is to nurture what is one of the most legendary 6.5 acres in Napa Valley and to carry on the trailblazing attitude of Napa Valley pioneer, Dr. Crane. We encourage you to visit the vineyard and allow us to share with you all that it means to us and to see and experience the past, present, and future of Napa fine wine-making.
Vail Jr. and Leslie Miller | Wight Vineyard Management | Atelier Melka