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Markham Vineyards is a winery founded in Napa Valley, California, in 1874. Markham has operated continuously since its founding (though under different names), making it the fourth oldest continuously operating winery in Napa County.
|Location||St. Helena, California, USA|
|Key people||Bryan Del Bondio, President|
Kimberlee Nicholls, Winemaker
James W. Coughlin, Jr.Associate Winemaker
|Parent company||Mercian Corporation|
|Known for||Napa Valley Merlot|
|Varietals||Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Pinot noir, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay|
|Tasting||open to the public|
Markham Vineyards was founded by Jean Laurent, an immigrant from the Bordeaux region of France, who arrived in California in 1852 as part of the population influx that resulted from the California Gold Rush. Recognizing that suitability of the Napa Valley land for winemaking, he founded his winemaking operation in 1874. Laurent and his vineyards rose to prominence during the 1880s, when wines produced in California began distribution to major population centers on the United States’ East Coast.
Jean Laurent died in 1890, after which his winery continued to operate successfully under a succession of owners until 1978. That year, vintner Bruce Markham purchased Laurent's winery and – combining it with vineyards in nearby Yountville, Oak Knoll and Calistoga, California – founded Markham Vineyards. Markham's purchase drove annual production of the Laurent vineyard from 3,500 cases to roughly 20,000 cases over the following decade.
In 1988, the former Laurent Winery was sold to Japanese wine and spirits producer Mercian Corporation, who commenced a four-year, multimillion-dollar renovation, expansion and vineyard replanting program on the Markham properties. These efforts more than doubled the capacity of Markham Vineyards.
Markham's Napa Valley properties encompass 350 acres of vineyard that are located in several of the area's most fertile growing regions, most notably the areas that border Mt. St. Helena around the Calistoga, Yountville and Oak Knoll communities. The brand has consistently engaged the counsel of industry experts to maximize the potential of its locations, an effort that has led to the incorporation of myriad grape varietals that thrive in the area's diverse microclimates.
Markham Vineyards produces wines in the Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay families. It has historically been known for its Cabernet Sauvignon, though its Merlot, introduced in 1980, has subsequently become the brand's flagship varietal.
The Markham Mark of Distinction Grant InitiativeEdit
In 2008, Markham Vineyards created the Mark of Distinction, a charitable effort that awards two $25,000 grants per year to organizations or individuals that work to cultivate positive change in American communities. To complement the grant program, Markham annually produces two single-vineyard, limited production Estate Cabernet Sauvignon wines – The Philanthropist and The Altruist – in honor of the grant recipients. These wines feature labels that highlight each grant recipient's work.
Recent Mark of Distinction Grant recipients have included Long Island Sled Hockey, a sled hockey program for physically and mentally handicapped athletes; the Paul Ruby Foundation for Parkinson's Research in Geneva, Illinois; and the Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine, Kansas.
- Hill, Kathleen & Gerald. Napa Valley Land of Golden Vines. The Globe Pequot Press, 2005, p. 165.
- Napa Valley Vintners , August 9, 2011.
- "Markham Vineyards Is Out To Promote Community Change", Spotlight's Wine Country Guide, April 21, 2011, accessed August 8, 2011.
- Arnn, Rebecca. "Markham Vineyards Is Out To Promote Community Change"], Sacramento Wine Examiner, July 14, 2011.