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The Wineries behind the most famous wines

Great wine begins in a great vineyard. The soil, the sun, the wind, the moisture all make the grape. Here is a bit about two such wineries considered to make some of the best wine in the world.

The entrance of DRC is marked with an ancient cross.
DRC entrance


One very special vineyard in Burgandy is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Romanee'-Conti is a vineyard/appellation owned and controlled by one winery, Domaine de la Romanee'-Conti, abbreviated DRC. Considered the most important winery in the worlds most prestigious wine regions.

Planted in the 13th century by the monks of Saint-Vivant abbey. These Pinot Noir wines are very age worthy because the vines are well over 50 years old. The entire winery is enclosed by a stone wall. This winery produces around 450 cases of wine a year in a little under 5 acres. The chances of you or I ever having a taste of this acclaimed wine is nil. A bottle of 1945 DRC sold for $558,000 in 2018 at auction.

Here is what one wine critic said about their wine; "... this is the purest, most aristocratic and most intense example of Pinot Noir you could possibly imagine. Not only nectar, a yardstick with which to just all other Burgundies."


In 1868, Hamilton Crabb purchased 240 acres in Oakville, and planted them with grapes, namaing it Hermosa Vineyards. A few years later he added acreage and renamed it to To-Kalon Wine Company. Crabb's To-Kalon Wine Company garnered international acclaim, making his one of America's top winemakers until his death in 1891. After this until 1966 the parcel changed hands and was divided many time. In 1966, Robert Mondavi acquired a 12 acre holding on the original plot owned by Crabb and around the late 1980's registered the trademark "To Kalon and "To Kalon Vineyard." This began a legal issue with Andy Beckstoffer, who owned the largest section within To-Kalon not owned by Mondavi.

The legal ramification for wine lovers is that Beckstoffer wines labeled ToKalon mean that a minimum of 95% of the fruit is from the To Kalon geographic region while Mondavi can use the term freely, not dependent on the source of the fruit.

The vineyard is currently a conglomerate. Robert Mondavi-Constellation owns the largest holding, Andy Beckstoffer and Opus One have smaller holdings, the University of California-Davis, Detert and MacDonald families also have a share.

Here are a few that you and I may some day have a chance to sample:

Paul Hobbs, Beckstoffer To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon

Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville To Kalon Vineyard Reserve

MacDonald, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Oakville

Schrader Cellars, Beckstoffer To Kalon RBS Cabernet Sauvignon

Detert Family Cabernet Franc Oakville Napa Valley


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