The Hans Fahden Vineyards and winery consists of 100 acres and is located at 1200 feet, in a range of the Mayacamus Mountains, on a ridge above Calistoga. The property features panoramic views of Mt. St. Helena. Hans and Marie Fahden, natives of Hamburg, Germany, purchased the property in 1912. They were hard-workers who farmed the land growing grapes first and then prunes, when Prohibition was enacted in 1920. Sixty years later, in 1980, Antone and Lyall Fahden, the third generation, decided they were tired of farming prunes and planted Cabernet Sauvignon instead. A new journey began to restore the land and make it productive. Three vineyard areas, separated by volcanic outcroppings and forests of Douglas fir, were planted in 1982, ‘83, and ’84. Ponds were created, roads were carved, and a wine cave was tunneled into a formation of four million year old volcanic ash. The first bottle of wine, which was produced from the 1987 vintage, was sold in 1992.
The early wines were made in the traditional California style and were blockbusters. They were intense and “jammy” but took years to develop. The volcanic soils created an earthy taste and Bordeaux character, which were described to have smoky and cedary overtones. Fifteen years later, the 1989 and 1990 vintages are now ready to be enjoyed.
Hans Fahden Vineyards and Winery is a family producer of Cabernet Sauvignon and is an extremely popular destination for wine country weddings and wine cave dinners. A volcanic cave and Monet garden setting is the centerpiece and main attraction for these large events. A wisteria-covered teahouse overlooks ponds filled with water lilies, cattails, and koi whilst there are mountain vineyard views in the background. Paths meander through patches of roses, sunflowers, and a sprawling garden that is unparalleled in its natural beauty and rustic elegance. Guests then can enjoy the unique experience of dining in a wine cave at the end of the day. The winemaker leads garden tours and tastings and a delicious sit down three-course candlelit dinner is also offered by appointment. Award winning chefs have created a series of menus focused on fresh, local, and organic ingredients. The cuisine has been tastefully paired with the mountain wines from Hans Fahden Vineyards.