Introduction to the Coombsville Wine Region in Napa Valley
Although Coombsville is not an official AVA, it is still highly regarded as a fine wine production region. You will find Coombsville just east of Napa. One of the most distinctive differences between the wineries in Coombsville and those in other areas of Napa Valley is the fact that most of the wineries in Coombsville are family owned as well as family operated. This is a decided step away from the many commercialized operations in other Napa Valley regions. In addition, many of the wineries in Coombsville have been owned by the same residents, who live in the area, for quite some time.
The climate in the Coombsville region is somewhat of a cross between what you will find in other regions. Coombsville receives a lot of exposure from the wind and fog of San Pablo Bay, much like the regions to the south. There are many parts of Coombsville; however, that feature temperatures that are warmer and similar in nature to the regions in the eastern hills.
Coombsville has become quite well known for producing outstanding Bordeaux varietals. One of the reasons for this is the amount of rainfall that this region receives each year. The Coombsville region receives an average of 25 inches of rain per year. Compared to the rest of Napa Valley, this is somewhat low. As a result, several Bordeaux varietals are widely planted throughout the region; including Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The volcanic debris in this region has also had a strong contribution to the success of Coombsville. Millions of years ago Mount George erupted and the resulting lava flows have allowed the terrain in the region to become the idea spot for growing a wide variety of grapes. Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon all thrive quite well in the soil in this region. The somewhat sloping and hill terrain means that the region is well drained. As a result, the soil here does not tend to retain water. This results in summers that are much hotter than many other regions. Since Cabernet Sauvignon grapes need warm soil in order to completely ripen this is the perfect location for them to thrive. The breathtaking beauty of this region makes it perfect for tours.
The region of Coombsville has developed, for the most part, alongside the nearby town of Napa. Nicholas Higuerra and Jacob Leese were granted extensive land grants during the 1840s throughout the southern Napa Valley. During this time most of the local economy involved livestock and farming; however, Leese soon recognized that the cool climate was perfect for planting vineyards.
Coombsville takes is name from the purchase of land by Nathan Coombs from Nicholas Higuerra in 1848. The town of Napa would eventually be established on part of this land. The region suffered right along with the rest of the Napa Valley during Prohibition and even after Prohibition had been repealed, there was little production of quality wine in this region. Prune orchards proved to be more lucrative during this time period. It was not until the 1960s that vineyards began to be planted to any large degree in this region. In 1975, Tulocay Winery was established by Bill Cadman. His winery has focused on the production of red Bordeaux varietals including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
Some of the most well known wineries in Coombsville include Dolce Winery, Farella Vineyard, Tulocay Winery and Caldwell Vineyard.