Vangone Estate
Every aspect of Vangone Estate is about adventure, discovery and exclusivity. From the precarious drive up through hidden backroads, to the breathtaking view that awaits you when you arrive, to the luxurious micro-production Cabernet Sauvignons produced here, Vangone is the ultimate insider’s secret.

  • Region: Napa Valley
  • Winery Location: Howell Mountain
  • Owner: Mark Davidowski
  • First Vintage: 2014
  • Winemaker: Sam Kaplan

Story
The land was originally purchased by Ron Davidowski and his wife Karen in 1993 after a multi-year search for property in Napa Valley, with the intent to eventually build a home and plant a vineyard. At the time only one other vineyard had been developed in this part of Napa Valley and arguably the most prominent vineyard in the immediate region, Stagecoach, had not yet even been developed.

The Vangone Estate is not quite Oakville, although it sits above Oakville to the east; is not quite Pritchard Hill either, and is outside of the geographic borders of the Atlas Peak AVA, located slightly further to the east. Vangone is its own unique site and is certainly an impressive one, located directly above Rector Reservoir (the primary water supply for Yountville). While physically not far from the Napa Valley floor and Silverado Trail – access to the site is much more roundabout, up Soda Canyon and passing entirely through the gated Soda Ranch.

Ron and Karen’s son Mark, while a partner in the vineyard site, is full owner of the Vangone Estate wine brand, along with his wife Patty.

In 2011, part of the property was ripped and prepared for planting; the efforts required to do so were significant based on the amount of rock on these slopes. Large rocks were isolated, broken into smaller sized pieces and then some were eventually pulverized and used as the base for the road through the property. The first vines went into the ground in 2012 overseen by vineyard manager Mario Bazan.

The property is at an elevation ranging from about 245m to 300m; it is 43 hectares of which about 9 are planted to vines, primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon but with a diverse tool chest of both clones and rootstalks. A small section is also planted to Cabernet Franc. The vines are farmed organically and the vineyard is certified Napa Green, a certification program by Napa County Department of Public Works and the California Green Business Program overseeing water conservation and reduced energy and waste within Napa based County wineries.

What about the unusual name: Vangone? During the time of inactivity between 1993 and 2011, the owners were not living in Napa but were contacted by the California Highway patrol regarding an abandoned van on the property. The van was being used by some sneaky locals to cultivate marijuana inside! When the Highway Patrol removed the marijuana plants, they refused to remove the abandoned van due to it lacking it’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), thus there was no proof of ownership. After many attempts to remove the van over the following months, one of the vineyard owners emphatically stated, “I just want that van gone.” The vineyard manager, Mario, then called back a few weeks later with a single statement, “Van gone.”  Where the van went is a mystery. The name stuck and the icon on the label is an abstract image of the van.

Vineyards
The Estate vineyard is a staggeringly beautiful site perched on two ridge tops, high in the Vaca Mountains between Atlas Peak, Pritchard Hill and Oakville. With views looking down across the nearby Rector Creek reservoir towards Screaming Eagle on one side, high up towards Continuum Estate in the other direction, and untouched wilderness at every other angle, this has to be one of the most stunning vineyards in Napa.

Proprietor Mark Davidowski and winemaker Sam Kaplan (Arkenstone & Momento Mori) produce a unique trio of wines: around 100 cases each of two individual vineyard parcels, Block B and Block D, as well as masterfully combining them into the Estate Cabernet (c.250 cases).

The west-facing Block B has great exposure to the sunshine and the reservoir below has a significant cooling influence.

Block D faces Atlas Peak to the east, on an incredibly steep part of the vineyard.

The Estate Cabernet is a stunning combination of the two. It carries notes from each and shines with gorgeous density, structure and personality.

Winemaking
Sam Kaplan is the first-choice winemaker for a growing number prestigious Napa Estates including Arkenstone Estate, Memento Mori, Vangone Estate, and Nine Suns (recently purchased by Realm Cellars), as well as producing his own brand, Maxem.

After 20+ vintages in the Napa Valley, Sam often reflects on what first got him interested in and then passionate about winemaking and the culture of wine as a way of life. He goes back to one day in college when he walked into a friend’s winery in Oregon and was overcome with the aromas of fermentation. It was a pivotal moment. “It smelled like home, and reminded me of my early childhood”, he says. Sam remembers his physician dad and friends making wine in their garage. Although he jokingly calls his dad “an early garagiste,” he remembers how wine, the intensity of aromas with fermentation, pulled family and friends together.

Latest arrivals from Vangone Estate

2018 Vangone, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 12x75cl

JD97+RP97
£1,800 / Case£150 / BottleDuty Status: In Bond ⋅ Price incl. of Duty & VAT: £2,192.14 / Case, £182.68 / BottleAvailability: Future ArrivalPlease contact us to know more

2018 Vangone, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 1x75cl

JD97+RP97
£150 / BottleDuty Status: In Bond ⋅ Price incl. of Duty & VAT: £182.68 / BottleAvailability: Future ArrivalPlease contact us to know more

2018 Vangone, Block D Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 12x75cl

RP97
£1,800 / Case£150 / BottleDuty Status: In Bond ⋅ Price incl. of Duty & VAT: £2,192.14 / Case, £182.68 / BottleAvailability: Future ArrivalPlease contact us to know more

2018 Vangone, Block B Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 12x75cl

RP97+
£1,800 / Case£150 / BottleDuty Status: In Bond ⋅ Price incl. of Duty & VAT: £2,192.14 / Case, £182.68 / BottleAvailability: Future ArrivalPlease contact us to know more