The buildings had collapsed in on themselves, the vineyard blocks ravaged by deer, but this was the place and the land that spoke to us.
We’d been visiting Napa Valley for years, learning about its history, wines, and appellations. We were fascinated by what it takes to make a truly great wine – the soils and microclimates, the meticulous farming, the hundreds of decisions that go into the winemaking process. Inevitably, what began as an interest became a passion, and we found ourselves looking for property here.
It was a cold, wet day in February 2012 when we first visited this site in the Diamond Mountain District. The mud was thick and the land was overgrown and neglected; the view of Mt. St. Helena was obstructed. The vineyard had been overrun with deer, and the 19th-century barn and outbuildings were in shambles. The old Victorian home and schoolhouse were a patchwork of make-shift renovations. The challenges seemed nearly insurmountable, but as we walked the property, the place and its history moved us. Tucked up on the north side of Diamond Mountain, the site was secluded, intimate and breathtakingly beautiful. We loved the feeling of the wind through the tall redwood forest. And the smell of that soil, the promise that it held.
When we became the owners of what would become Theorem Vineyards, we soon learned that the property housed one of the most significant collections of historical buildings in Napa Valley. The site had once been a working farm with livestock and multiple crops. It also was home to one of the oldest school houses in the area. Determined to honor the property’s historical significance we went to work. We restored the old Victorian home, the schoolhouse, and the Long Barn that once served as the farm’s chicken-coop. With the considerable expertise of the visionary architect Richard Beard, who immediately recognized the architectural significance of the buildings, we peeled back the layers of neglect. We restored and preserved the original character of the structures while bringing them up to modern standards. We saved what we could, and re-purposed every piece of redwood we found.
The vineyard was another puzzle. Originally planted in 1985, the vines had been stripped of most of their fruit by deer. As that first harvest approached in 2012, we briefly thought about tearing the vines out. But our Winemaker, Thomas Rivers Brown, recognized the superb quality of the grapes. He convinced us to let him pick the scant 1.2 tons of Cabernet Sauvignon that remained. That fruit became our first vintage of Theorem Vineyards Voir Dire, our flagship Cabernet Sauvignon. Since then, we have preserved this old block of Cabernet Sauvignon, and Voir Dire continues to be made from these remarkable old vines. The rest of the vineyard has been reconfigured and replanted by famed Napa Vineyard Manager Josh Clark, and new blocks have been planted as well.
Today, our 60 acres on Diamond Mountain is divided roughly between 20 acres of vines, 20 acres of redwood and Douglas fir forest, and 20 pastoral acres for the winery, house and barns. In 2018, we added to our estate vineyard holdings with the purchase of a property high up in the Moon Mountain District, 34 acres that back up to Mt. Veeder and straddle the Napa and Sonoma county lines. With its exceptional climate and terroir, the Moon Mountain property already has a track record of producing excellent wines, one that we are determined to continue.
In 2018, six years after we first laid eyes on our Diamond Mountain property, we finished construction on the estate winery where we now produce Theorem Vineyard wines. With considerable input from Thomas Rivers Brown, our winery is custom-built for our estate vineyards, with various sized tanks and vessels suitable for hands-on, custom wine production. In the same year, we welcomed our first visitors to Theorem, initiating a personalized hospitality program that reflects the spirit of this place. It is our pleasure to share our story, our wines, and our home.
With several vintages in the bottle and barrel, we have come to a deeper understanding and appreciation of our estate vineyards and the wines they can produce. Yet we know we are just at the beginning of this adventure. There is more work to be done, more discoveries and wines to be made. We are still peeling back the layers, uncovering the truth of this magical place on Diamond Mountain.