Growing Up Oakville
Oakville, long a home to grape growing, has only recently become the crown jewel of Napa Valley Cabernet. Justin Meyer and Ray Duncan focused on Cabernet Sauvignon when they started their winery, Silver Oak, in 1972. Ray purchased the old Keig Dairy in the heart of Oakville which boasted 20 acres of Napa Gamay and 355 acres of clover and grass. In case you’re wondering, the whole of Napa only reports 31 acres of its formerly widespread Gamay according to the most recent grape acreage report. Between 1973 and 1974, Justin and Ray planted over 300 acres of grapes, mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, helping to usher in Cabernet as the dominant grape of the region. Though not a small undertaking, this was familiar ground for Meyer, who had planted upwards of 3000 acres in the North Coast while working with the Christian Brothers in the previous decade.
One four acre block of this massive planting was Bonny’s Vineyard, so called because it was a gift from Justin to his wife Bonny, located in front of their house in Oakville. Even after selling their half of Silver Oak in 2001, the one vineyard the Meyer Family retained was Bonny’s Vineyard. This may have been due to random luck or sentimentality since the vineyard is on the property of the family home. Whether destined to be theirs or hand picked out of thousands of acres, this vineyard continues to produce one of Oakville’s most storied wines.