All about the Oakville AVA and the Missouri Hopper Vineyard

The world-famous Napa Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) is home to 16 unique and diverse growing areas. Each of those sixteen “nested” AVAs offers a combination of microclimates, soil types, and elevations that create a unique “terroir” for specific grape varieties and singular characteristics in their finished wines.

One important, centrally located appellation is the Oakville AVA, stretching two miles across the Napa Valley floor before reaching a few hundred feet up into the Vaca Mountains to the east and into the more coastal Mayacamas bordering the western edge of the Valley.


What makes the Oakville AVA So Favorable for Viticulture?

While each nested AVA in Napa Valley offers unique conditions for growing wine grapes, the Oakville appellation boasts some of the most sought-after wines in the world. Designated a distinctive AVA in 1993, the Oakville Winegrowers’ Association boasts over 70 wineries and about the same number of growers.

While the vineyards in the Oakville appellation thrive because of the unique presence of residual, alluvial, and fluvial soils, its temperate Mediterranean climate blends the coolness of the San Francisco Bay to the south and the warmer inland air from the San Joaquin Valley to the north.

But terroir is not the entire story. The family-owned vineyards operated by meticulous growers supply highly acclaimed single-vineyard winemakers with grapes each year. Some of the resulting wines have even been deemed “cult” wines among the world’s true wine lovers.


Wheeler Farms Wine: Sustainable, Single Vineyard Wines

Situated in the heart of the Oakville AVA near St. Helena, the winemakers at Wheeler Farms, producers of their highly acclaimed J.H. Wheeler Wine brands, are continually on a quest to produce high-quality single-vineyard wines. Their principal aim is to identify historic vineyards that exhibit distinguishing characteristics while employing responsible farming practices. Their search results in raw material sources that express the benefits of each vineyard’s terroir, resulting in a truly unique and flavorful wine.


Missouri Hopper Vineyard

Part of the highly regarded Beckstoffer Heritage Vineyard Group is the Missouri Hopper Vineyard, located just north of Yountville in the Oakville AVA.

The origins and name of the Missouri Hopper Vineyard reach back to 1877 when Charles Hopper purchased the vineyard from George C. Yount, the man for whom Yountville was named.

Seemingly a very thoughtful father, Mr. Hopper turned the land over to his daughter, Missouri, which explains the vineyard’s unusual name that remains an entire century and one-half later.

While the land and vineyard changed ownership along the way, the property was purchased in 1996 by the Beckstoffer Vineyards, the current owners and operators of the vineyards.

Missouri Hopper vineyard comprises 36 plantable acres producing the highest quality Cabernet Sauvignon grapes anywhere. Single vineyard wines from grapes grown in the Missouri Hopper Vineyard regularly score extremely high in Wine Advocate Ratings.

In November 2021, the 2019 J.H. Wheeler Cabernet Sauvignon Missouri Hopper Vineyard achieved a 95+ Points Wine Advocate Rating.


Visiting Wheeler Farms Winery

Wheeler Farms itself celebrates a long and fascinating history. Initially owned by the Wheeler Family in the late 19th century, the current winery strives to retain the connection to J.H Wheeler, one of Napa Valley’s true wine industry pioneers.

To reserve your place for a visit and wine tasting of some of the Wheeler Farms single-vineyard wines, visit the Wheeler Farms website.

Or, you may phone the Director of Customer Relations, Stephanie Farmer, at (707)-200-8500 or email her at stephanie@wheelerfarmswine.com.