To develop and operate a world-class winegrowing estate. To produce organically grown fruit and with this fruit make a singular wine of the highest caliber and distinction. The style of the wine should be at once classic and contemporary... it should express the uniqueness of the precious resource that is Eisele Vineyard.
Araujo Estate is located in the northeast Napa Valley, just east of Calistoga. The estate was established around the Eisele Vineyard, first planted over 125 years ago and principally dedicated to Cabernet Sauvignon for the past 50 years. Since the inaugural release bearing the Eisele name in 1971, this unique vineyard has been widely recognized as one of the greatest terroirs in the Napa Valley.
For the past 23 years, Daphne and Bart Araujo developed the property's potential, bringing it to the status of California “First Growth”. In 2013, the historic vineyard was acquired by the Pinault family and Groupe Artemis. With humility, curiosity and commitment to excellence, we
embrace the idea of enabling this extraordinary place to speak its clearest voice.
In vineyard and winery alike, the team will spare no effort to achieve the most exacting quality while extending and building upon the legacies of the past.
As stewards of this iconic vineyard, we employ organic and biodynamic practices in farming and winemaking, reinforcing the unique terroir in the wines and ensuring the health of the soil and vines now and for future generations. Through obsessive attention to detail and driven by quest for perfection, we strive to produce singular wines of place, of the Eisele Vineyard.
Welcome to Araujo Estate.
The history of what is now the 162-acre Araujo Estate reaches back to a time before grapes began to dominate the Napa Valley, and mirrors the events that shaped this extraordinary grape growing region.
The earliest stewards of what is now the Araujo Estate were the Wappo, native gardeners and land conservationists who until the early 1800s maintained a delicate balance among wildlife, vegetation, and human occupation.
By 1841 the Araujo lands had become part of the 18,000-acre Mexican land grant, Rancho Carne Humana, awarded to Edward Turner Bale by his uncle-in-law, General Mariano G. Vallejo. Bale continued to graze cattle and horses on the land; he also cultivated grapes and grew vast quantities of wheat, building a large gristmill that is said to be one of the first meeting places of the Anglo settlers who staged the Bear Flag Revolt.
In the early 1880s Jackson G. Randall, one of Napa Valley’s pioneer viticulturists, and his neighbor Charles Nathan Pickett, one of the Valley’s largest wine producers, were the first to plant grapes on what is now Araujo’s Eisele Vineyard. Pickett and his family retained this vineyard land until the Second World War.
From the 1880s to the late 1960s the lands of the Araujo Estate remained under continuous grape cultivation, surviving successive owners as well as the financial catastrophes of phylloxera, Prohibition and the Great Depression. During these years the Napa Valley wine industry languished but vines persisted.
In 1969, Milton and Barbara Eisele purchased the 137-acre property, naming it the Eisele Vineyard. Over their 20-plus years of ownership, they established the site as one of the finest sources for Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in the Napa Valley.
Determined not to languish in retirement, they began a new career as grapegrowers in their 60s. In a prescient move that altered the course of this special place, the Eiseles offered their grapes to Paul Draper, winemaker of Ridge Vineyards. In 1971 Draper produced the first Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the first vineyard-designated wines in California. This landmark wine is still beautiful after more than four decades in bottle, and is widely considered to be one of the finest wines ever produced in the Napa Valley.
The second vineyard-designated Eisele Cabernet was produced by Conn Creek Winery in 1974, to equal acclaim and with equal longevity, and from 1975 to 1991, Napa Valley wine visionary Joseph Phelps continued the tradition, producing what would become a long line of legendary Cabernets from the Eisele Vineyard. The 1991 vintage yielded two significant Eisele Vineyard Cabernets: the final Phelps bottling from the property, and the first Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
In 1990 Bart and Daphne Araujo bought the celebrated lands that had nurtured some of the earliest grapes in Napa Valley.
During their 23 year of stewardship of the Eisele Vineyard, Daphne and Bart Araujo were committed to maintaining links with Napa Valley’s rural history while building on the Eiseles’ accomplishments. Their dedication to developing the property's potential brought it to the status of California “First Growth”. They upgraded the vineyard, re-designed the estate grounds, and earned organic and Biodynamic certification. They constructed the first winery on the property and built temperature-controlled caves, integrating changes with the natural and historical landscape.
The Araujos added small plantings of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Merlot for blending with the Cabernet. In 1990 they also identified a small number of Syrah vines within a Cabernet block dating from 1978 grafts, and from these vines they developed a dedicated Syrah program. Additionally, the Araujos brought Sauvignon Blanc to an east-facing slope of the Eisele Vineyard. Today, this Estate white is also acclaimed for demonstrating Eisele Vineyard terroir.