Nestled in the undulating hills east of Napa, Kongsgaard is a name synonymous with a deep-rooted connection to the land, a fifth-generation testament to the legacy of winemaking in Napa Valley. John and Maggy Kongsgaard initiated this vinous journey, planting the Judge vineyard to Chardonnay in the 1970s on family land that would become the cradle of their winemaking legacy.
The genesis of Kongsgaard wines dates back to 1996, marked by their inaugural vintage. A labor of love, it wasn’t just the inception of a winery but the manifestation of a family’s dedication to the craft. The torch passed through generations, with their son Alex and winemaker Evan Frazier joining the partnership a decade later. Together, they embarked on a mission to create wines that echo the whispers of the Napa Valley terroir.
The vineyards that form the backbone of Kongsgaard wines are strategically located in the hills east of Napa, a region that bears witness to the intricate dance between sun-kissed slopes and cool, Pacific-influenced breezes. The Judge vineyard, planted with Chardonnay, is a testament to the family’s foresight and commitment to crafting wines that reflect the essence of their terroir.
Kongsgaard’s farming practices are a symphony of intensity and care. Their vineyards, characterized by intense farming and shy-bearing vines, paint a picture of meticulous attention to detail. This approach, rooted in a deep respect for the land, ensures that each grape carries the fingerprint of its origin, resulting in powerful yet graceful wines.
What sets Kongsgaard apart is not just the location of their vineyards but the philosophy that guides their winemaking. The winery embraces an archaic, low-intervention approach, allowing the natural character of the grapes to shine. In their cave on the eastern rim of Napa Valley, the winemakers at Kongsgaard employ hands-on techniques to shepherd the grapes through the winemaking process, creating wines that are a vivid expression of both vineyard and variety.
The heart of Kongsgaard’s production lies in their Chardonnays, with a focus on The Judge and the Napa Valley bottling. These wines, crafted with a limited production that reflects the hands-on involvement of Alex, Evan, and John, epitomize the Kongsgaard commitment to quality over quantity. In addition to their acclaimed Chardonnays, Kongsgaard also produces small quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The adventurous spirit of the winery is further showcased in minuscule amounts of Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, and Albariño.
In the cellars of Kongsgaard, each bottle tells a story of a family’s dedication to their craft, a tale that began in the 1970s and continues to unfold with every vintage. Kongsgaard wines are not just a product of the vine; they are a living narrative, a testament to the enduring legacy of a family deeply rooted in the soils of Napa Valley.