The Rutherford Bench
Why the Rutherford Bench?
For wine makers and aficionados, the advantages provided by growing grapes on the Rutherford Bench are well known. For initiates and those who are new to the scene, however, the topic of why the Rutherford Bench is a premier grape producing destination is worthy of further explanation.
An approximately three mile stretch of the Napa Valley, the Rutherford Bench runs north from Oakville to Rutherford, ranging along the west side of Route 29. It is known as a moderately warm region, with occasional morning fog and frequent afternoon sea breezes. Elevations range in between 155 and 500 feet, and the area receives about 38 inches of rainfall per year.
One of the reasons why the soil in the Rutherford Bench is perfect for sourcing grapes is that it rests on the gravelly bed of an ancient stream. The result is good water retention and excellent drainage, a winning combination. The complexity of the soil composition is another reason. On the eastern side, for example, the soil is primarily of volcanic origin. It is generally considered to be deeper and more fertile than the soil found on the western side.
All of these factors, but especially the diversity of the soil composition, have combined to earn Rutherford the coveted designation of a Nested American Viticultural Area. What this means is that the climate and soils have created a place that is idyllic for growing grapes and producing wines.
Of course, the structure and composition of the soil has a substantial impact on the character of the grapes and the flavors of the wine. Simply put, different grapes produce different varieties of wine, and different grapes need different types of climactic conditions in order to thrive. A few of the top wines that are produced in the Rutherford Nested American Viticultural Area include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc.
The area first won global acclaim when Georges de Latour earned a gold medal for the 1936 Cabernet Sauvignon he produced at his estate in Rutherford, the Beaulieu Vineyard. The recognition occurred in 1939 at the Golden Gate International Exposition, and since that time Rutherford has been known as a leading worldwide destination for producing Cabernet Sauvignons of the highest quality.
Leveraging the incredible positioning, climate and soil complexity of the Rutherford Bench, along with the experience, passion and determination of their team, Bello Family Vineyards produces a range of wines at their estate vineyard in Rutherford, including: