To develop and operate a world-class winegrowing estate. To produce organically grown fruit and with this fruit make a singular wine of the highest caliber and distinction. The style of the wine should be at once classic and contemporary... it should express the uniqueness of the precious resource that is Araujo Estate.
Our estate is a wine property located in the northeast Napa Valley, just east of Calistoga. Its two primary components are the 38-acre Eisele Vineyard, and a winery and cave complex we designed and built specifically to vinify Eisele Vineyard grapes.
The Eisele Vineyard is one of the most respected Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in the Napa Valley, equivalent to a premier cru Bordeaux. Warm days, cool nights and well-drained cobbly soils produce remarkable wines. The vineyard was established more than 120 years ago, and was first planted to Cabernet Sauvignon in 1964. When we acquired it in 1990, we began extensive renovation of the existing buildings, created a new winery and caves, and in the vineyard, refined the varietal mix and upgraded clone-rootstock combinations, to realize the property's potential
for joining the international elite of limited production wine estates oriented exclusively to quality.
As stewards of this singular place, we employ organic and Biodynamic practices in our farming and winemaking, reinforcing the unique terroir in our wines, and ensuring the health of the soil and vines now and for the future. Our farming extends from vines to olive trees, fruits and vegetables for the table, and beekeeping. The olive oil and honey we produce further reflect the property's character and natural abundance.
Through meticulous attention to detail in all factors influencing the ultimate quality of the wines, we strive to produce singular wines of place, of the Eisele Vineyard. Welcome to Araujo Estate.
The history of what is now the 162-acre Araujo Estate reaches back to a time before grapes began to dominate the Napa Valley, and mirrors the events that shaped this extraordinary grape growing region.
The earliest stewards of what is now the Araujo Estate were the Wappo, native gardeners and land conservationists who until the early 1800s maintained a delicate balance among wildlife, vegetation, and human occupation.
By 1841 the Araujo lands had become part of the 18,000-acre Mexican land grant, Rancho Carne Humana, awarded to Edward Turner Bale by his uncle-in-law, General Mariano G. Vallejo. Bale continued to graze cattle and horses on the land; he also cultivated grapes and grew vast quantities of wheat, building a large gristmill that is said to be one of the first meeting places of the Anglo settlers who staged the Bear Flag Revolt.
In the early 1880s Jackson G. Randall, one of Napa Valley’s pioneer viticulturists, and his neighbor Charles Nathan Pickett, one of the Valley’s largest wine producers, were the first to plant grapes on what is now Araujo’s Eisele Vineyard. Pickett and his family retained this vineyard land until the Second World War.
From the 1880s to the late 1960s the lands of the Araujo Estate remained under continuous grape cultivation, surviving successive owners as well as the financial catastrophes of phylloxera, Prohibition and the Great Depression. During these years the Napa Valley wine industry languished but vines persisted.
In 1969, Milton and Barbara Eisele purchased the 137-acre property, naming it the Eisele Vineyard. Over their 20-plus years of ownership, they established the site as one of the finest sources for Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in the Napa Valley.
Determined not to languish in retirement, they began a new career as grapegrowers in their 60s. In a prescient move that altered the course of this special place, the Eiseles offered their grapes to Paul Draper, winemaker of Ridge Vineyards. In 1971 Draper produced the first Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the first vineyard-designated wines in California. This landmark wine is still beautiful after more than four decades in bottle, and is widely considered to be one of the finest wines ever produced in the Napa Valley.
The second vineyard-designated Eisele Cabernet was produced by Conn Creek Winery in 1974, to equal acclaim and with equal longevity, and from 1975 to 1991, Napa Valley wine visionary Joseph Phelps continued the tradition, producing what would become a long line of legendary Cabernets from the Eisele Vineyard. The 1991 vintage yielded two significant Eisele Vineyard Cabernets: the final Phelps bottling from the property, and the first Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
In 1990 Bart and Daphne Araujo bought the celebrated lands that had nurtured some of the earliest grapes in Napa Valley.
The Araujos, committed to building on the accomplishments of the Eiseles but also to maintaining links with Napa Valley’s rural history, upgraded the vineyard, eventually earning both organic and Biodynamic certification, and re-designed the estate grounds. By 1994, farm buildings, including a century old barn, had been painstakingly renovated, and a small winery with aging caves was constructed.
From the beginning Araujo has been dedicated exclusively to estate-bottled wines, and Bart and Daphne have gradually fine-tuned the configuration of the Eisele Vineyard's component blocks. Today Eisele Vineyard grows not only Cabernet Sauvignon, but also Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and small amounts of Syrah and Viognier. Under the vigilant stewardship of the Araujos, the Araujo Cabernet Sauvignon and other varietals from the Eisele Vineyard continue to be recognized as Napa Valley benchmark wines the world over.