Harbison Estate Wines
Joe and Pat Harbison's entry in the wine business was anything but typical. Known for his legendary wine cellar, Joe was often called on by various charities to create auction lots or rare and exquisite wines. Culling the best from his cellar, their generosity helped raise much needed funds for over three decades. Recognizing wine's importance in fundraising, they decided to produce their own label called JP Harbison with purchased fruit from Oakville. Norm Roby of Decanter Magazine called their project "the ultimate new boutique brand" when just six cases of the first vintage were made available for sale and the rest donated to charity. JP Harbison produced vintages from 1998-2007 and generated over $3m for children's charities. In 2005, Joe and Pat were fortunate to find a small parcel of land on Oakville's East side and began development of their winegrowing estate. The site proved ideal for planting Cabernet Sauvignon and sits on the same uplifted allivial fan and red volcanic dirt as its already famous neighbors. The estate is planted to five small vineyard blocks that yield approximately 75 cases of Harbison Estate Cabernet Sauvignon each vintage. Harbison Estate's team of artisans includes Russell Bevan, whose wines Robert Parker calls, "exuberant and showy," and Jim Barbour, venerable Napa Valley viticulturist for nearly 40 years. Together, they produce focused and graceful wines from the land that is Harbison Estate.
Located in the heart of Oakville, California.
- Excellent wines.
- Meeting / Conference Facilities:
- Wedding Facilities:
- Picnic Facilities:
- Dog Friendly:
- Winery Tours:
- Wine Tasting:
- Art or Architecture:
- Organic / Biodynamic:
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As the son of an executive father who traveled and entertained, Joe became interested in wine in his early teens when he began reading wine lists during business dinners as a means to pass the time. By the time he was 19, he purchased his first wine cellar from a private collector which fortuitously was filled with 1961 Bordeaux first growth wines. He began reading everything he could find about wine, including then-popular magazines, Wine World and Vintage.
After graduating from Villanova, he became a commissioned officer in the Navy and an intelligence officer for the Sixth Fleet. Stationed in the Mediterranean gave Joe further chance to study Spanish, French and Italian wines.
After leaving the Navy, Joe contemplated a career in wine or law. He enrolled in law school specializing in victim advocacy near the University of California, Davis and satisfied his wine interests by volunteering to work harvests in Napa Valley.
A true wine collector and enthusiast, Joe is confident he has tasted every significant wine produced from 1900-2000.
“Russell Bevan exudes energy and exuberance, both of which come through in spades in his fruit-forward, showy wines. I cannot recommend this up-and-coming producer’s wines highly enough. ”
— Robert Parker, on Winemaker Russell Bevan, The Wine Advocate
JIM BARBOUR - Viticulturist:
Jim Barbour was raised on his family's ranch in Rutherford where he learned the life of farming, a passion for land and the understanding that hard work breeds success.
After graduating from the University of California, Davis, Jim returned to Napa Valley to begin a career that would lead him to become one of the regions most sought-after viticulturists. For over 30 years, he has been dedicated to his craft, producing premium wine grapes using traditional and contemporary hand-farming methods. Jim has planted and manages many prominent vineyards in the valley, including Hundred Acre, Grace Family, Checkerboard, Blankiet, Revana, Gandona Estate, The Vineyardist, DR Stephens Estate, and more. His storied tradition continues with his work on the Harbison Estate.
Estate Vineyards / AVA
The vineyard blocks include The Trail, located along the Silverado Trail near the front of the property and planted to clone 337. Pony Express is the northern-most block and named for the Pony Express stop once on the estate. It is divided between Clone 7 and 337. Horseshoe, the western facing vineyard block and fondly nicknamed for the numerous horseshoes found during development, is planted to clone 7.
Geologically, Harbison Estate is related to hillside immediately to the east, spanning to the top of the Vaca Mountains above Oakville. In the book The Winemaker's Dance (University of California Press, 2004), authors Jonathan Swinchatt and David G. Howell theorize on the creation of the Vaca range and attribute it to volcanic activity nearly 150 million years ago. When the peaks became too high and the mountain too heavy, gravity took over and hundreds of feet of iron-rich, red volcanic soil came tumbling down, creating the foundations for what are now a few but critically acclaimed vineyards of legendary Eastern Oakville.
Red soils have long been touted as ideal for cultivating Cabernet Sauvignon. Its minerality preserves fruit character and creates wines with great freshness and finely grained tannins. It is with this backbone that the wines of Harbison Estate are created.