Harlan Estate

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Harlan Estate
Location Oakville, California, USA
Appellation Oakville AVA
Founded 1984
First vintage 1990
Key people Bill Harlan, Proprietor
Bob Levy, Director of Winegrowing
Don Weaver, Estate Director
Cory Empting, Winemaker
Mary Maher, Vineyard Manager
Known for Harlan Estate
The Maiden
Tasting Not available
Website www.harlanestate.com
Harlan Estate 1997 vintage

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. 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,[2][3] 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,[4] with Harlan's expressed ambition to "create a first growth wine".[5]

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.[5] 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."[5]

Described by Jancis Robinson as "one of the ten best wines of the twentieth century",[5] and consistent acclaim from Wine Spectator,[6] and Robert Parker, including four scores of 100 "parker points",[3] have further contributed to the wine's high prices and long waiting lists. Released at $245 per bottle, the price soon rises on the speculative market,[2] and the cost may range from $650 and up.[3][7] A 10-vintage vertical selection of magnum bottles sold at the 2000 Napa Valley Wine Auction for $700,000.[5]

The Director of Wine Making, Bob Levy, has worked with Harlan since 1983 when Harlan took part in founding the Merryvale Winery,[2][4][5] and since 1989 the estate has retained Michel Rolland as consultant enologist.[1][3][8] Construction of the current winery was completed in 2002.[2]


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.[8][9]


Beginning production in 1997, Harlan founded BOND,[2] in collaboration with winemaker Bob Levy, with the intent to identify and produce wine from "grand crus" of Napa Valley.[10] Erroneously described as second wines of Harlan Estate, the BOND winery is located on the western hills of Oakville.[10]


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

External links[edit]

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