California’s Mediterranean climate makes it as suitable for viticulture as any country in Europe. Even before 1839, when settler George Calvert Yount planted the first grapes in Napa Valley, wild grapes covered the famous winemaking region’s hillsides. Back then, the land was primarily occupied by horse and cattle ranches, and the land owned by the Black Stallion Estate Winery is no exception. Originally the Silverado Horseman’s Center, it consisted of stables, an outdoor riding track and grandstand, the area’s only indoor riding arena, and miles of rambling hillside trails. Black and white photos and a few broken stalls are all that remain of the historic landmark, but the Black Stallion Winery’s name pays tribute to the land’s equestrian origins.
Director of Winemaking Ralf Holdenried oversees the combination of traditional and modern methods that go into the estate’s winemaking procedures. The German-born Winemaker has fifteen years of experience creating wine in California. This makes him the perfect person to bring Old and New World techniques together to craft the award-winning winery’s rich, balanced wines.