The Inaugural Napa River Terroir Project Launches!

April 22, 2010 at 12:03 am

Napa River Terroir Project map
The Napa River has been a source of agricultural bounty in the valley for hundreds of years, dating all the way back to the Wappo Native American tribes that used it’s tributaries as their water source.  Modern viticulture has certainly benefited from the rich alluvial soils that are carried in its current year after year, providing a mixed gradient of robust soil into the various soil types that permeate the Napa Valley.  Therefore the river has a wide-ranging influence wines that are made from grape varieties that are grown near its banks and influenced microclimates.

While there are already a few fine organizations that are working to restore, conserve or protect the river and its native habitats, we have yet to have come across a good survey of the terroir that is created by the river snaking down the valley. This Saturday 04/24/2010, we plan to change this with the very first Napa River Terroir Project.   Andrew Lazorchak (Twitter) of VineyardVlog, visionary of and my partner in this caper, said it best:

“Our goal is to take a  voyeuristic journey down the Napa River from Calistoga to Oakville.  As you know the Napa river is an element of the valley that bears consequence on the “terroir“.  We’d like to explore this artery of the valley, as we feel not much emphasis or discussion has been had about it with respect to terroir.”

As you can see from the map above, we are planning on making a number of stops during our 9 hour, roughly 10 mile kayak trip down the river.  We will be stopping at a number of wineries along the way and we’re hoping to add more before we embark at 9am Saturday morning.  Current stops include Tudal Winery (WineLog), Titus Vineyards (Twitter, WineLog), Crocker & Starr Wines and Round Pond Estate (Twitter, WineLog) and we thank these wineries for their participation!

Also participating in our harrowing inaugural journey will be Steve, The Lady, Seth Johnson (Twitter) and Jill (Twitter).  But we invite any winery, person or gang of peeps to join us as we take photos, shoot video, tweet, Facebook, Foursquare and GPS our adventures as we learn about the Napa River Terroir.  Much of this information will be gleaned through interviews with the vineyard managers of our gracious host wineries and vineyards listed above.

Not in town this weekend?  Follow our tweets as we battle the elements in wine country!

If you would like to participate, contact me at the links above or in the footer of this post, below.  We are also happy to encounter hecklers on bridges, in cars or even braving inner tubes.  Also, watch this space for more information…this adventure is rapidly evolving!  Our agenda will be posted soon.  Cheers!

*Final Map with Itinerary!*

Topics/Questions that we’re interested in discussing:

  1. What are the varietals planted along the river?
  2. What is the soil profile along the river?
  3. How is the slope/ alluvial flood plain?
  4. How are yields effected along the river.  Root vigor?
  5. Ripeness of varietals / fungus etc?
  6. Vineyard  feeling on terroir.  Is there an effect on the grapes?  What is your terroir?
  7. What would you plant there now if you could plant anything?
  8. Stories about the river – everyone I have spoke to thus far has a story about the river and I think these will be the most valuable.
  9. How does the river affect your water table throughout the year?
  10. What are your conservation methods to preserve the river’s ecosystem?
  11. Are you a member of any of the conservation groups or conservation certifications in the county or state? Why or why not?


Andrew’s post at VineyardVlog

Andrew’s first recap at VineyardVlog

161-page on central napa tributaries and salmon spawning
Appellation St Helena Map
NVVA – Soil / Terroir
Speed of a canoe

Ward Kadel - @drXeNo is the founder of Vinopanion wine blog, the West Coast Ambassador & Staff Blogger for and Le Wine Buff for (CIVB). He will try any and all wines and tends to write about the parts of his life that include virtually all of it! He and his wife grew up in Napa and Sonoma and they still live in the Napa Valley. View Ward's WineLog and check out the wines he's recommended with his WKBadges. Follow him on Twitter and Like Vinopanion on Facebook. Contact him: "Ward at". Ward happily accepts samples but does not guarantee a review, positive or negative.

20 Responses to “The Inaugural Napa River Terroir Project Launches!”

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  10. […] episode…” on KVSY-FM 91.3.  Herein, we chat about the harrowing exploits of the Napa River Terroir Project, Le Wine Buff’s, Bordeaux and it’s attack by surprisingly lazy wine writing, Brixr and […]

  11. Thanks for following along, Jason! We’re definitely looking forward to it!

  12. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by drxeno: RT @JillDever UberExcited: Napa River Terroir Project #NRTP OurPosts #wine @drXeNo @WineSoiree #fb…

  13. jason says:

    Sounds exciting. I look forward to following you guys on Twitter. Have a ton of fun!

  14. […] to start 4/24/10.  I have been lucky enough to lure in a well-respected wine writer, Ward Kadel of VinoPanion and, as a partner in this venture.  Together we have crafted a google map (below) and […]

  15. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ward Kadel – drXeNo, Andrew Lazorchak. Andrew Lazorchak said: RT @drXeNo: The inaugural Napa River Terroir Project launched! Follow us Satty! @JillDever #NapaRiverTerroir #wine […]

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