Duckhorn Wine (10 Delightful Napa Valley Wines, Prices 2021)

Duckhorn Wine (10 Delightful Napa Valley Wines, Prices 2024)

by Anthony Zhang

Napa Valley’s Duckhorn Wine Company has been crafting distinctive Bordeaux varietal wines and Napa Valley blends for nearly four decades. 

What started with just one winery - Duckhorn Vineyards - is today a diverse portfolio of premium Napa Valley red, white, and sparkling wines.

If you haven’t yet got hold of this label, it’s time to!

Let’s discover everything about the incredible Duckhorn portfolio, its winemaking practices, and the best Duckhorn bottles to buy in 2024. We’ll also explore an easy way for you to invest in these wines.

Further reading

A Quick Look at Duckhorn Portfolio and Its Origins

Some of the Duckhorn Portfolio of wines, including Duckhorn Vineyards, Paraduxx, GoldenEye, and more.

The Duckhorn Portfolio owns many brands, including Duckhorn Vineyards, Paraduxx, GoldenEye, and more.

It started off as Duckhorn Vineyards - a celebrated winery on the outskirts of St. Helena in California, famous for its Bordeaux varietal wines. Dan and Margaret Duckhorn founded it in 1976. The 10-acre estate that Dan and Margaret Duckhorn bought in St. Helena was named Marlee’s Vineyard, after Margaret, and later became Duckhorn Vineyards. 

Back then, they produced only 800 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot each. 

By 2007, the Duckhorn property expanded to 168 acres in Napa Valley and Howell Mountain and 153 acres in Anderson Valley - maturing into a leader in the US wine industry. 

While the portfolio with seven estate vineyards remained family-owned for over 30 years, it was acquired by the private equity firm GI Partners in 2007. In 2016, Duckhorn was sold to TSG Consumer Partners, another private equity firm.

Today, the Duckhorn wine empire (Duckhorn Portfolio) has a variety of labels. Besides Merlot, it also produces prominent California varietals, including Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.

Winemaking at Duckhorn is spearheaded by CEO Alex Ryan, who has helped elevate Duckhorn as a leading player in the Napa wine industry.

Fun Facts:

  • In 2005, the San Francisco Chronicle declared Dan Duckhorn as its "Winemaker of the Year" and listed four of his wines in the "Top 100 Wines of 2005."
  • Two wines from the Duckhorn portfolio won Wine Spectator magazine’s coveted Wine of the Year award.

Let’s explore the entire portfolio of Duckhorn wines.

The Different Wine Brands in The Duckhorn Portfolio

The Duckhorn wine company has ten dedicated wineries producing Napa Valley wines sold in over 50 countries. Each winery produces a different luxury wine label. 

The major brands of the portfolio are:

1. Duckhorn Vineyards

Duckhorn Vineyards flagship Duckhorn wine made exclusively with the Merlot grape varietal.

Duckhorn Vineyards produces the flagship Duckhorn wine exclusively with the Merlot grape varietal. In addition, the Duckhorn winery also produces exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon wines. 

Duckhorn Vineyards was awarded seven times by Wine & Spirits for being one of the “Top 100 Wineries” in the world. Wine Spectator also named the 2014 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot Three Palms Vineyard as the “2017 Wine of the Year.” 

2. Decoy

Decoy Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon by Duckhorn Wine.

Decoy has been under the Duckhorn Vineyards brand umbrella since 1985. The Decoy red blend wine is produced with grape varietals from Napa Valley and Sonoma County. 

Decoy also boasts an impressive collection of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc, along with a Rose and Champagne Brut Cuvee

The grapes for Decoy wines are sourced from multiple vineyards in Alexander Valley, California. 

In 2020, Decoy launched a limited production wine called Decoy Limited, made with some of the best Californian grape varietals.

3. Paraduxx

Paraduxx wine bottles by Duckhorn wine.

Paraduxx is the only Californian winemaker exclusively producing Napa Valley blends. 

It was set up as an offshoot of the Duckhorn Vineyards. This enabled the winemaker to explore other grape varietals without compromising its signature Bordeaux-style wines.

The first Paraduxx vintage of 1994 was an iconic blend of Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon with trace amounts of Merlot and Petite Sirah.

4. Goldeneye

Goldeneye Ten Degrees Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, California, produced by Duckhorn wine.

Goldeneye is a manifestation of the Duckhorn founders’ love for Pinot Noir. 

The use of Pinot Noir in winemaking at Goldeneye began long before the varietal became popular in California. 

In 1993, the winemakers released their first Pinot Noir wine. It was produced with grapes from the Russian River Valley appellation under the label Decoy.

In 1996, Goldeneye acquired its own vineyard in Anderson Valley. Today it has expanded to four vineyards encompassing 200 acres of land:

  • Narrows Vineyard
  • Split Rail Vineyard
  • Gowan Creek Vineyard
  • Confluence Vineyard 

In 2006, they released a limited-production Pinot Noir wine called Ten Degrees.

5. Migration

Migration Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, produced by Duckhorn wine.

Migration is known for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines (signature varietals of the Sonoma County appellation.) 

The elegance of these wines is underscored by fruit notes, balanced acidity, and rich oak integration. The first Migration vintage of 2001 was a Pinot Noir blend from Anderson Valley.

6. Others

Besides those mentioned above, other brands in the Duckhorn portfolio include:

  • Canvasback: Canvasback was established in 2012 to create extraordinary wines from grapes of the Red Mountain slopes in Washington State. It follows the same winemaking process as Duckhorn Vineyards.
  • Calera: Calera, on the Central Coast of California, produces single-vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines.
  • Greenwing: The most famous wine of the Greenwing brand is their Cabernet Sauvignon varietal. The sensual wine is produced with grapes from Columbia Valley.
  • Postmark: Postmark is the estate in the Paso Robles wine region known for its exciting Cabernet Sauvignon expression. The magnificently crafted wine is well-structured and packed with flavors.
  • Kosta Browne: This winery was acquired by the Duckhorn wine company in 2018. Kosta Browne is situated in Sebastopol, California, and produces excellent Pinot Noir wines.

Let’s now discover the viticulture and vinification processes at the flagship Duckhorn Vineyards.

Viticulture at Duckhorn Vineyards

Duckhorn Wine Vineyards building

The Duckhorn estate vineyards neighbor the appellations of Carneros, Yountville, Howell Mountain, and St. Helena. 

The seven vineyards of the Duckhorn estate are:

  • Three Palms Vineyard: This vineyard is situated at an altitude of 357 feet and is about 74 acres. It is most famous for its New World Merlot varietal wines. 
  • Marlee's Vineyard: Marlee’s wasthe first vineyard planted by the Duckhorns and houses the estate winery. From this vineyard come some of the most exquisite Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon white wine varietals.
  • Stout Vineyard: Stout is located at over 2,000 feet altitude in the Howell Mountain appellation. Some of Duckhorn’s oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines are found here.
  • Monitor Ledge Vineyard: The vineyard is situated on Selby Creek’s alluvial belt, and its grapes reflect a unique expression of the terroir. 
  • Rector Creek Vineyard: This vineyard is located north of Yountville, close to the Paraduxx winery. It is planted with a range of dark varietals like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Petit Verdot, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc
  • Patzimaro Vineyard: Patzimaro is named after the Mexican hometown of the Duckhorn vineyard workers, the Hurtado family. 
  • Cork Tree Vineyard: This 15-acre Merlot vineyard plot is located on the coolest and southernmost section of the Duckhorn estate. 

Now let’s explore how the exceptional wines of Duckhorn Vineyards are made.

Vinification of Duckhorn Wine 

Duckhorn wine with harvested Merlot grapes.

The winemaking at Duckhorn Vineyards and other subsidiary vintage wine estates depends on the grape varietal and wine type. 

The steps common to all vinification processes are:

  • Fermentation: After harvesting,the grapes undergo fermentation in stainless steel or wooden tanks. Fermentation is followed by clarification which extracts solids from the juice.
  • Barreling: After a 21-day long fermentation in the tanks, the wine is transferred to French oak barrels. The wine is aged in these French oak barrels for about two weeks to five years, depending on the vintage and desired wine quality.
  • Testing: The wine in these barrels is tested regularly to check the aging progression.
  • Bottling: Once the aging process is complete, the wine is transferred from the barrels to a bottling machine. Some wines are bottled by hand.

Do you already want to taste these enchanting wines? 

If you want to enjoy a wholesome tasting experience, a Duckhorn club membership can help. Once you get a club card number, you can participate in complimentary wine tastings at the vintage wine estates of Duckhorn in Napa’s wine country.

But if you prefer to stock up some good bottles for yourself instead, check out the list below to discover some of the best Duckhorn wines you can buy this year.

10 Best Duckhorn Wines to Buy in 2024

These Duckhorn wines are some of our ultimate favorites:

1. 2014 Duckhorn Vineyards Three Palms Vineyard Merlot 

2014 Duckhorn Vineyards Three Palms Vineyard Merlot 

This Duckhorn Merlot red wine offers a layered nose of red fruit, cedar, graphite, and cream. The wine has a sophisticated palate of rich oak tasting notes offset by firm tannins.

Price of 2014 Duckhorn Vineyards Three Palms Vineyard Merlot: $246

2. 1982 Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 

1982 Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 

This Napa Valley wine has firm tannins and a fruity flavor with dominant oak notes. In addition, it has intense aromas of blueberry and bitter chocolate, along with a smoky trace. 

Price of 1982 Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon: $225

3. 2017 Canvasback Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Cabernet Franc 

2017 Canvasback Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Cabernet Franc

This fresh and complex Napa Valley Cabernet Franc is produced with grapes from the Red Mountain appellation. 

The wine has intriguing layers of raspberry, cranberry, and crushed herbs with traces of graphite and granite dust. 

Price of 2017 Canvasback Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Cabernet Franc: $70

4. 1997 Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 

1997 Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

This exceptional wine has ripe fruit aromas of dark cherries, cassis, and plums, along with earthy and woody tones. It is medium to full-bodied with a smooth texture and lingering flavors of dark cherries, blackberries, and dark cocoa. 

Price of 1997 Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon: $201

5. 1989 Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 

1989 Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

This Bordeaux blend has strong dark fruit and raisin notes with savory hints of tobacco, black pepper, and oak. It is juicy and well-matured with firm tannins.

Price of 1989 Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon: $188

6. 2017 Duckhorn Vineyards The Discussion Red 

2017 Duckhorn Vineyards The Discussion Red

This excellent red wine opens with flavors of blueberry, raspberry, and pomegranate enmeshed with creamy oak, producing a robust palate. The Discussion is a unique red wine with a long finish, spicy hints of sage, and firm tannins.

Price of 2017 Duckhorn Vineyards The Discussion Red: $156

7. 2015 Goldeneye Ten Degrees Pinot Noir 

2015 Goldeneye Ten Degrees Pinot Noir

The wine presents vibrant notes of red berries and strawberry preserve common to all Confluence vineyard wines. This wine is elegant with traces of truffles, pomegranate, and forest floor and brilliantly complements rich meat dishes like beef, game, and chicken.

Price of 2015 Goldeneye Ten Degrees Pinot Noir: $152

8. 1991 Duckhorn Vineyards Three Palms Vineyard Merlot

1991 Duckhorn Vineyards Three Palms Vineyard Merlot

This Duckhorn Merlot red wine blend has an elegant mouthfeel with cherry, plum, and chocolate tasting notes. It has traces of minerality and a robust structure.

Price of 1991 Duckhorn Vineyards Three Palms Vineyard Merlot: $120

9. 2012 Paraduxx Winery Red 

2012 Paraduxx Winery Red

This wine from the Paraduxx Napa winery has a layered nose of brambleberry, ripe blackberry, and oaky vanilla cream. The tasting notes include red fruit, raspberry, blueberry, and spice. 

Price of 2012 Paraduxx Winery Red: $74

10. 2002 Duckhorn Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc

 2002 Duckhorn Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc

This Duckhorn wine has a harmonious mouthfeel of black cherry, vanilla, and caramel. It has a long finish with sturdy tannins and balanced acidity.

Price of 2002 Duckhorn Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc: $65

If you’re in California wine country, don’t forget to enjoy a unique wine tasting experience at the vineyard’s tasting room.

Are these exceptional wines also investment-worthy? 

Let’s find out.

Investing in Duckhorn Wine

The delectable wines of Duckhorn have reasonably good aging potential.

The delectable wines of Duckhorn have reasonably good aging potential. While Duckhorn Vineyard wines can age from 4 years to over 20 years, the other wines in the portfolio are equally age-worthy and can cellar as follows:

  • Paraduxx: 2 to 12 years 
  • Goldeneye: 3 to 15 years 
  • Migration: 4 to 12 years
  • Decoy: 3 to 10 years

The luxury wine labels of Duckhorn Vineyards have shown remarkable value appreciation over the years. For instance:

  • The 1989 Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon price increased by over 40% from $145 to $204 between 2019 and 2020.
  • The 2011 Duckhorn Vineyards The Discussion Red appreciated by almost 29%  between January 2021 and February 2021 from $125 and $161.

You can also gauge the value of Duckhorn wines through these exciting auction results:

  • At a Zachy’s auction in February 2021, a 24-bottle lot of 2014 Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot, Three Palms Vineyard, sold for $7,000.
  • A lot of 6-magnum bottles of Duckhorn Vineyards, Merlot 1998, sold for $431 at a Sotheby’s auction in December 2017.
  • In December 2017, a 6-magnum lot of Duckhorn Vineyards, Merlot 2001, sold for $554 at a Sotheby’s auction.

Now how do you take advantage of the Duckhorn wines investment potential? 

Vinovest can help you easily build a portfolio of these and other high-value wines.

Buy Duckhorn Wine and Other Collectible Wines Through Vinovest

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Add the Elegant Duckhorn Portfolio Wines to Your Collection Today

Enjoy a glass of Duckhorn wine in the vineyards.

The range of labels in the Duckhorn portfolio is sure to impress any discerning wine lover. Some Duckhorn wines offer twin benefits of exceptional flavors and lucrative returns on investment.

If you desire to relish the intricate flavors of an American fine wine, stock up on a Duckhorn of your choice. 

Also start building your profitable portfolio of delightful wine bottles by signing up with Vinovest today!

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