Among The Vines: The Helms Vineyard

October 24th, 2019

You may have heard the term “Rutherford Dust” to describe wines from our region area of Napa Valley. Tucked away at the northern point of the Rutherford bench, the Helms vineyard showcases the typical characteristics for this appellation, and then some. It’s home to our Estate and grows some of the most iconic vines in our area. Whether you’ve been perusing wine magazines or listening to your local Somm talk about “terroir” you might have heard about “alluvial soil” and seen many nodding heads acknowledging its greatness for creating great wine. But what exactly IS alluvial soil anyway, and what makes it so unique?

The soil in the Helms Vineyard ranges from alluvial deposits to sticky clays in blocks the closer you get to the creek as you venture through this vineyard. But the most unique part of it is the slight hillside that is sits on, allowing for better drainage than most “valley floor” Rutherford vineyards. It’s what gives Helms its unique personality from other Rutherford properties.

When it comes down to it, winegrowing is all about the dirt. What defines an incredible winegrowing region is soil diversity and the ability to have a totally different soil composition merely yards away from each other that creates a totally distinct expression of wine as a result. Alluvial soil is defined as a blend of soils made up of clay, silt, sand and gravel. It comes together after many years of running water depositing it into a central area. The coarse gravels and even a touch of exposed rhyolite bedrock produce an elegant wine that remains texturally soft and well-rounded. This combo soil contains a wealth of organic material that makes it quite fertile and ideal for growing expressive grapes. Some of the most iconic wine regions in the world can attribute their success to growing in this type of soil. We’re proud to call the Helms Vineyard in Rutherford one of them.

Among The Vines: The Helms Vineyard

Our sister company, Dana Estates, also uses fruit from this vineyard. In fact, the 2013 Dana Estates wines was one of the seven 100 point wines scored by James Suckling in the 2013 vintage. Mr. Suckling himself calls it one of the most compelling expressions of Cabernet in Napa.

The vineyard itself surrounds the restored ruins of the property’s founder, H.W. Helms. What was once a ghost vineyard is now our incredible modern remodeled property where we invite you to join us to taste VASO Wines with in your own private tasting experience.