At Premiere Napa Valley, our region's top winemakers have the opportunity to showcase their finest, most special wines. The small-lot wines they craft for this annual trade auction can be unique in many ways: vineyard source; variety; blend; a special barrel regime; or oftentimes, vintners will collaborate on a joint lot with respected colleagues and friends.

Here are some of the descriptors you might come across as you learn more about the one-of-a-kind wines offered at Premiere Napa Valley.

  • Clonal selection - the propagation of a a superior vine, with several generations ultimately producing an abundance of that clone.
  • Alluvial soil - made up of clay, silt, sand and gravel, forming over time from mineral deposits left by running water. Rutherford and Oakville Benches are well-known alluvial fans.
  • Fluvial soil - composites mixed from materials delivered to a river from throughout its upstream course
  • Benchland - a long, relatively narrow strip of nearly level or slightly inclined land with distinctly steeper slopes above and below it. Examples: Rutherford, Oakville and Stag's Leap
  • Puncheon - a large format vessel for wine or spirits, generally defined as a barrel holding 500 liters.
  • Hang time - the period between a vine's flowering and its harvest, when grapes are left on the vine to ripen.
  • Tufa - a combination of of silica, calcium carbonate and possibly volcanic ash, deposited over time by various water sources.
  • Acidity - a wine's acidity can help it age gracefully, and creates a lightweight feeling on your palate. Cooler vintages often yield wines with higher acidity.
  • Balance - a well-balanced wine offers a synergistic mix of acidity, tannin and fruit concentration. These wines generally age beautifully.
  • Loam soil - made of equal parts clay, sand and silt, loam is warm, soft, and crumbly.
  • Tannins - tannin is a naturally occurring compound in plants, seeds, bark, wood, leaves and fruit skins. In wine, tannin manifests as bitterness, astringency and complexity and are mostly found in red wines.
  • Diurnal temperature range - in a given day, the difference between the highest temperature and the lowest. This range has a strong impact on how grapes ripen.
  • Vineyard block - these come in all shapes and sizes and are defined by winemakers and viticulturists. Each block is treated according to soil, pruning, trellising, irrigation, varietal, rootstock and more.
  • Bud break - also known as budburst, this is the yearly stage of vine development, in the spring, where small shoots emerge from vine buds. Their period of winter sleep and dormancy is over.