The Hess Collection
The Hess story has always been about the quest to elevate the wine experience – from the planting of mountain vineyards, to sustainable farming practices, investment in state of the art winemaking equipment and a winery visitor experience featuring a world class contemporary art museum.
Donald Hess established his first Mount Veeder vineyard in 1978, the beginning of The Hess Collection Winery in Napa Valley. He founded the winery with the steadfast belief that quality and goodness are the best business practices. The Hess Collection now owns more than 1,000 acres of prime California vineyards, including 700 in Napa Valley. The Hess Collection site was established as a winery in the 1860’s in what is now the Mount Veeder Appellation of the Napa Valley. The original winery on Mount Veeder was hewn from native stone in 1903 and houses part of an art collection shown in museums worldwide, making the Hess Collection the premier showcase for Hess’ “two passions under one roof.” He has tremendous pride in everything the family has built and this pride is symbolized through the Lion which appears on every wine from the Hess Collection. The Hess family credo is “Live each day with the heart and courage of the Lion.”
“The Romans believed that good grapes are grown on the hills,” says Hess. “I saw that the soils on Mount Veeder were deep, volcanic, rocky soils. These are the very best conditions for growing berries that are smaller and more concentrated, which leads to a structured, powerful and complex wine.” The wines cultivated at The Hess Collection demonstrate the distinctive qualities of the individual vineyards, including the unique qualities of high altitude grapes.
Today the visitor’s experience includes excursions out into the vineyard and culinary offerings where our Executive Chef pairs the Mt. Veeder Wines with estate grown ingredients to show case the flavor profiles, terroir, and uniqueness of the Mt. Veeder AVA.
Interesting Facts about Mt. Veeder AVA
• Hess played a major role in the formation of Mt. Veeder AVA.
• Though the AVA was established 1993, the area has produced age-worthy wines since the 1860s.
• It’s the largest AVA within Napa Valley, but nature has limited production to just 1.3% of Napa Valley’s grapes.
• Mt. Veeder AVA has the longest growing season in Napa.
• Yields are exceptionally low (usually 2 to 2.5 tons per acre for Cabernet Sauvignon), about half the Napa Valley average.
• Steep slopes require almost all of the work be done by hand.
• There’s a wide range of micro-climates due to the many sharp curves and exposures in the mountain.
• Mt. Veeder grows the most grape varieties of the mountain AVAs.