Korte Ranch is located in a beautiful section of the Napa Valley, 3 miles north of St. Helena, CA., where the east and west ranges of hills come close together. It is an ideal location to grow grapes and cultivate olive trees for olive oil.
The Olive Oil Orchard
Napa Valley has become a major farming region for olive trees and olive oil. Olives are high in monounsaturated fat; studies have correlated that with good cardiovascular health. The Mediterranean climate which is so beneficial for wine grapes, also benefits olive trees. They both do their best in poor soils, full sun and heat. Moderate irrigation aids in developing the fruit size. Olives were first planted in California at the San Diego Mission in the late 1700s, with the first olive oil reported to be produced in California in 1803.
There are many types of olives we could have planted in the Olea europaea family, we chose to start with Spanish trees: 80% Arbequina and 20% Arbosana. Arbequina was chosen because the typical characteristic of the olive oil is more buttery, with a slightly peppery finish. Arbosana is considered a more robust olive than Arbequina. Their olive oil tastes more peppery, or pungent. It also delivers a higher level of polyphenols – the chemical substances found in plants that may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Korte Ranch Vineyard is located in the St. Helena AVA (American Viticultural Area). The Napa River forms the eastern border of our vineyard. The original vineyard was planted in the late 1890’s and remained in production through prohibition. Today, these old, gnarly vines produce wonderful zinfandel grapes that are sold to various winemakers in the valley including Bremer Family, Huneeus, Elyse Winery, Orin Swift, Gardienne des Vignes Winery, and Kirke Venge. We are proud to have been vineyard designated on the labels of Elyse Winery, D-Cubed Cellars, Schuetz-Oles, and Ehlers Estate. In 2006, we planted Petit Sirah vines on a 3 acre plot of land surrounding the cottage.