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The area now known as the Rutherford appellation was once just a part of a vast Mexican holding known as Rancho Caymus. One thousand acres at the northern tip of this Rancho was gifted by its owner, George C. Yount, in 1864 to his grandson-in-law, Thomas Rutherford, who began growing winegrapes for high-quality production and lent his name to the area. Soon after, producers such as Georges de Latour (founder of Beaulieu Vineyards) and Gustave Niebaum (founder of Inglenook, now known as Rubicon) established themselves. However, it was the mid-20th century winemakers Andre Tchelistcheff at BV and John Daniel at Inglenook who truly established the current reputation of Rutherford as a prime locale for Cabernet Sauvignon, making wines of distinction that have lasted for decades.
It was Tchelistcheff who coined the phrase “Rutherford dust” to describe the element of minerality that he saw as the hallmark of a fine Rutherford cabernet, and it was also he who emphasized the importance of grapes coming from the “Rutherford bench”—the gently sloping land on the western side of the valley that provides for an ideal mixture of sun exposure, soil fertility, and drainage. The Tres Sabores ranch sits near the top of the Rutherford bench, at the base of the Mayacamas mountain range—a sweet spot for the growing of our high-quality red grapes, Cabernet, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah.
Rutherford today is 3,200 acres of vineyard (four Central Parks), 40 wineries and one fantastic taqueria in the heart of the Napa valley, with a group of growers dedicated to fine wine. In 1994 the Rutherford Dust Society [embed hyperlink: http://www.rutherforddust.org] was formed to honor Rutherford’s history and to strengthen its community. Recently, an effort has been undertaken by the Dust Society to restore the Napa river, which cuts through the heart of the appellation. Commitments such as this are emblematic of the connection the Rutherford community shares with the soil and water of the area; this connection is central to Rutherford’s continued unique place in the wine world.