Harlan Estate

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Harlan Estate
LocationOakville, California, USA
AppellationOakville AVA
First vintage1990
Key peopleBill Harlan, Proprietor
Bob Levy, Director of Winegrowing
Don Weaver, Estate Director
Cory Empting, Winemaker
Mary Maher, Vineyard Manager
Known forHarlan Estate
The Maiden
TastingNot available

Harlan Estate is a California wine estate producing Bordeaux style blends. The estate is located in the western hills of Oakville, California within the Oakville AVA, in the Napa Valley AVA zone.

Harlan Estate has been described as "the ultimate cult winery",[1] with its limited availability, prices and status akin to those of Screaming Eagle. Its flagship Harlan Estate is one of the most sought-after Californian wines on the market, with the average price per bottle reaching $1,012.[2] In addition to the estate wine, there is produced a second wine named The Maiden.


In 1984, H. William Harlan, a real estate developer and Napa Valley resort owner,[3][4] purchased a 240-acre (97 ha) property, a forested area, with steep hillsides, multiple elevations and exposures, west of Martha's Vineyard in Oakville, and proceeded to clear 40 acres (16 ha) for viticulture,[5] with Harlan's expressed ambition to "create a first growth wine".[6]

The first Harlan Estate wine label, a design inspired by a 19th-century engraving which was overseen by retired U.S. Treasury engraver Herb Fichter, was 10 years in the making, from when Bill Harlan first started his search for an engraver to the release of the 1990 vintage in 1996.[6] On its qualities, Harlan has stated, "It was a label designed for a bottle that would sit on a table in candlelight, not on a store shelf."[6]

Described by Jancis Robinson as "one of the ten best wines of the twentieth century",[6] and consistent acclaim from Wine Spectator,[7] and Robert Parker, including four scores of 100 "parker points",[4] have further contributed to the wine's high prices and long waiting lists. Released at $850 per bottle, the price soon rises on the speculative market,[3] and the cost may range from $1200 and up.[4][8] A 10-vintage vertical selection of magnum bottles sold at the 2000 Napa Valley Wine Auction for $700,000.[6]

The Director of Wine Making, Bob Levy, has worked with Harlan since 1983 when Harlan took part in founding the Merryvale Winery,[3][5][6] and since 1989 the estate has retained Michel Rolland as consultant enologist.[1][4][9] Construction of the current winery was completed in 2002.[3]


The estate extends 240 acres (97 ha), of which approximately 15% of the land, 40 acres (16 ha) is cultivated with the grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.[9][10]


Beginning production in 1997, Harlan also founded BOND,[3] which is a small portfolio of wines "Grand Cru" in quality, all under the umbrella of one philosophy, one team, and one mark. Producing only the best expression of the land through Cabernet Sauvignon. [11] The five BOND wines are produced from hillside sites across the Napa Valley and the BOND winery is located in Oakville.[11]


  1. ^ a b Kamp, David & Lynch, David, Vanity Fair (November 2005). "The Wine Snob's Dictionary".CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ "Harlan Estate, Napa Valley, USA: prices | wine-searcher". Wine Searcher. Retrieved 2016-11-23.
  3. ^ a b c d e Brook, Stephen, Decanter.com (February 16, 2007). "Bill Harlan - Decanter Interview".
  4. ^ a b c d Parker, Robert M. Jr, BusinessWeek (September 10, 2007). "A Perfectionist Fulfills His Dream".
  5. ^ a b Laube, James, Wine Spectator (April 30, 2000). "Harlan Estate". Archived from the original on December 1, 2008. Retrieved December 28, 2008.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Teague, Lettie, Food & Wine (March 2001). "California's Cult-Cabernet Visionary".
  7. ^ Suckling, James, Wine Spectator (August 31, 2006). "I Have Joined the Cult".
  8. ^ Heimoff, Steve, steveheimoff.com (November 24, 2008). "Upsetting applecarts: Blind tasting as a revolutionary act".
  9. ^ a b Napa Valley Wine Library Association. "Fall Field Seminar". Archived from the original on 2011-07-14.
  10. ^ Appellationamerica.com. "Harlan Estate".
  11. ^ a b Eklund, Kurt-Inge (2008). "Harlans Imperium". Mat & Vänner Vin. Helsingborg: Mat & Vänner Förlag AB (2): 48–54. ISSN 2000-0200. (in Swedish)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°24′54″N 122°24′30″W / 38.41500°N 122.40833°W / 38.41500; -122.40833