Harlan Estate: The Definitive and Authentic Winery of All Time


The strength of an aspiration is said to move mountains and animate ideas into tangible life forms. William Harlan dreamt of having his own vineyard and cultivating “first-growth” wine outside of France. Little did he know that his would-be estate, Harlan Estate, would be home to multi-awarded vintages, recognized as one of the prominent wineries in Napa Valley, and a locale for one of the most prestigious wine auctions in the world.

An articulate man with a sizable repository of ideas, Harlan never stopped perfecting his wine, even when the wine world already acknowledges the superior quality of his creations and has relegated much of his work as cult wines or wines that are too impeccable for consumption. For Harlan, he aims to produce tipple that is more suitable for candlelit dinners than store shelves, and producing cult wines shapes him and his team up to consistently put out products that deserve global recognition.

History: The beginnings of a distinguished wine estate

William Harlan was a real estate developer by trade. He loved fine wine and dainty things, and that fascination led him to Napa Valley, the world’s winemaking capital. After attending the opening of the Robert Mondavi Winery in the valley, he was inspired by how one man can make true his vision with enough dynamism, passion and will. After visiting First Growth in Bordeaux and Premier & Grands Crus in Burgundy with Robert Mondavi, Harlan decided to purchase some land to make his dreams of creating a First Growth in California come true.

In 1984, Harlan acquired a 240-acre land, which features lush forest-like areas, varying elevations, and scenic hillsides. It sports the ideal growing conditions for a selection of varietals, leading Harlan to grow several classic varieties. The estate quickly made a name for itself with its Cabernet-based Bordeaux style blends. This formally lodged Harlan Estate in the global wine map.

Harlan’s vision wasn’t limited to just creating fine wine . He pictured wine so superb that it’s only viable place is on a lavish dinner table. Never straying from his vision, it took Harlan 10 years to settle on the design of the wine label, which was inspired by a picturesque engraving from the 19th century.

Harlan Estate went on to produce some of the finest tipple in Napa Valley and harvested praises from renowned wine critics and publications, like Robert Parker, Jancis Robinson, and the Wine Spectator magazine. This raised the prices of the estate’s tipple and eventually placed them into the elite category of “cult wines.”

Before long, Harlan Estate’s wines became the subject of wine auctions. In 2000, magnum bottles coming from the estate were sold for no less than $700,000 at the Napa Valley Auction. The effort consistently raised millions of dollars from the sold wines, which Harlan and the rest of the Napa Valley Vintners group apportion for charity.

William Harlan had certainly achieved his dream, but he is not one to rest on his laurels. He continues to strive to make his wine even more refined and perfect.  You can’t expect anything less from someone who believes that change and evolution are the only things laced with permanence, especially in sunny California.

The Centrepiece of Classy Wine Auctions

The Napa Valley Auction is a mecca for the most distinguished wine collectors worldwide. Sponsored by the Napa Valley Vintners, the event gathers some of the most expensive and prominent cult wines from all over the world, where the highest bidders get to take home one or a collection of bottles. Harlan Estate happens to be at the top of its class when it comes to quality and value. Bidders are lucky if they take home a Cabernet Sauvignon for a few hundred thousand dollars.

The Harlan Estate’s selection of “grand cru” (wine of the highest order) bottles are considered some of the most coveted items on the Napa Valley Auction. Collectors deem the tipple too precious to consume, treating the wine like gold or rare paintings. As previously mentioned, magnum bottles from the estate were sold at a high price, and this happens consistently. Proprietary Red is a central piece of any serious wine collection.

In 2008 and 2013, Harlan partially bought a new estate and land in the southwestern hills bordering Oakville – the Promontory. Wines are produced from grapes grown from this new acquisition.

More recently, Harlan engaged in a new project where he is set to release a series of new magnum bottles called Promontory. The collection is composed of vintages from 2009 to 2013 as well as would-be released tipple from 2009 – 2018. The bidder earned the right to be its first patron, first in line to receive a double magnum of the first five vintages (2009–2013) and a case of each of the first 10 bottled. The lot was sold at a bargain price of $600,000 to Lee Anderson. Once it appears in the Napa Valley Auction, the bottles would be worth a whole lot more. Remarkably, a lot of people will be lining up to bid with gusto.

Harlan Estate’s Finest

Over the years, Harlan Estate has produced different product lines that are considered the crème de la crème of their kind, some of which are relegated to auctions as cult wines, and there are others that are extremely classy dinner wines. The estate shifted from yielding several varietal wines to predominantly manufacturing expertly made variations of Cabernet Sauvignon. The focus made the wine virtually superior to many of its counterparts in other vineyards.

The 2000 Harlan Estate Vintage has a rather exorbitant price tag matched by its top-notch quality. This elegant Cabernet is characterized by a pronounced aroma with notes of black currant, coffee, tobacco, and cedar. Notes of fresh fruits with a silky texture and gentle tannins pleasantly prance on one’s palate. It is perfectly paired with the most special occasions or kept as a luxury piece in a visible corner of one’s room given its value.

The 2007 Harlan Estate Vintage is renowned throughout the estate as the master blend. The texture is supple, as it lightly sticks to the taste buds. The aroma is prominent, coupled with significant astringency. Harlan assures wine collectors that this variant is among the very best the estate has to offer.

The 1997 Vintage is and has always been a big purchase at wine auctions. It bears a dense and opaque hue, with a wide assemblage of notes for aromatics – vanilla, coffee, licorice, blackberries, and prunes among others. Taste-wise, it carries a jammy and confectionery hint to it, with balanced acidity and tannins. Lavish dinners are best paired with this wine.

Any serious wine collector would love to get their hands on Harlan Estate’s set of vintages, as the wines increase the value and prestige of any collection. To keep the tipple in pristine condition over time, collectors turn to a cutting edge wine storage facility like Singapore Wine Vault. The establishment is home to a bonded wine warehouse where wine-sensitive conditions, such as temperature and humidity, are kept at a constant.