The Napa Valley is the most well-known wine growing region in the United States, and produces the most sought-after wines in the world. Located an hour northeast of San Francisco, the valley is small, just 60 kilometers (36 miles) long and between 1.6 kilometers (one mile) and eight kilometers (five miles) wide. The valley’s climate, geography and geology are conducive to growing quality wine grapes.
The Napa Valley is bordered by the Mayacamas Mountains to the west and the Vaca Mountains to the east. The floor of the main valley gradually rises from sea level at the southern end to 110 meters (362 feet) above sea level at the northern end in Calistoga, at the foot of Mount Saint Helena. The soil in the southern end of the valley consists mainly of sediments deposited by earlier advances and retreats of San Pablo Bay, while the soil at the northern end of the valley contains a large volume of volcanic lava and ash. The open southern end of the valley floor is cooler during the growing season due to the proximity of San Pablo Bay while the sheltered, closed northern end is often much warmer. The eastern side of the valley tends to be more arid because winter storms tend to drop more precipitation on the western mountains and hills.
Yao Family Wines sources the grapes for its Yao Ming Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from prestigious Napa Valley vineyards with a reputation for excellent fruit and selects individual blocks to blend for flavor and texture in its world-class wines. The vineyards are located from north to south along the Napa Valley, where the variation in climate and soils provide grapes with distinct characteristics that can add to the complexity of the final blends.
- Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard in the Vaca Mountains has very rocky, well-drained alluvial and volcanic soils which allow the vines to struggle, resulting in highly concentrated fruit, the hallmark of great wine. Yao Family Wines sources grapes from 6.9 hectares (17 acres) on the western benchland.
- Tourmaline Vineyard located in Coombsville and Tulocay, is heavily influenced by its proximity to the maritime climate of San Pablo Bay. The cool breezes and fog that shroud the vineyard provide a special micro-climate for the vines. Named after the birthstone of November, Tourmaline fruit is typically picked in that month, later than most vineyards, due to its cool weather patterns. Yao Family Wines sources grapes from 3.4 hectares (8.4 acres) on gently sloping terrain.
- Circle S Vineyard resides at an elevation of 427 meters (1,400 feet) on Atlas Peak, making it one of the highest vineyards in Napa Valley. The high elevation ideally situated in cool mountain air prolongs the growing season and allows the grape clusters to develop slowly and achieve textural ripeness. Yao Family Wines sources grapes from 3.2 hectares (7.8 acres) on densely planted vines in gravely volcanic loam soils.
- Broken Rock Vineyard, located in Soda Canyon, is on a steep, western facing slope, giving it ample afternoon sun, and has extremely low fertility volcanic, granite-like sub-soil. The rocky terrain provides excellent drainage and naturally devigorates the vines, producing wines of concentration, elegance and character. Yao Family Wines sources grapes from 3.7 hectares (9.2 acres).
- Silverado Hill Vineyard is located near Yountville, in the Oak Knoll district. Yao Family Wines sources grapes from 1.3 hectares (3.1 acres), planted on alluvial fan and clay loam soils.
- Wollack Vineyard is located in St. Helena in the heart of Napa Valley. Yao Family Wines sources grapes from 1.1 hectares (2.6 acres).