Nickel & Nickel Winery aerial view.

Nickel & Nickel Winery in Oakville

By Published On: May 19th, 2022

Nickel & Nickel offers tastings by appointment at its idyllic 42-acre estate in Oakville, Napa Valley

The Nickel & Nickel winery was established in 1997 by the partners of Napa’s iconic Far Niente winery.

They were working with many vineyards at the time that demonstrated extraordinary potential and saw an opportunity to craft exceptional wines that express the distinct personality of each site. Nickel & Nickel was founded on the same principles of exceptional winemaking but is devoted to crafting single-vineyard, single varietal wines from top vineyards throughout the Napa Valley.

They produce Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot and Syrah, as well as Syrah from Sonoma.

Nickel & Nickel restored an historic farmstead in Oakville, which was originally established in the 1880s by John C. Sullenger, and built a state-of-the-art winery and subterranean barrel cellar, distinctly suited to allow us to produce the exceptional single-vineyard wines that we are known and admired for.

Winemaker Joe Harden joined Nickel & Nickel in 2018 bringing his talent and experience to the winery, allowing them to achieve their goal of producing wines of distinction that express the very best of each vineyard.  We interviewed the team at Nickel & Nickel Winery to learn more.

Nickel & Nickel Winery Team: We offer a variety of unique tasting experiences at our picturesque winery in Oakville that allow wine lovers to see, taste and feel firsthand our exceptional single vineyard wines and tour the beautifully restored farmstead.

Our most elevated experience, the Terroir Tasting, offers a unique opportunity for Cabernet fans to taste through eight single-vineyard Cabernets from Napa’s most exciting sub-appellations. This unparalleled comparative tasting explores vineyards from north to the south, and includes winery-only exclusives.

Nickel & Nickel offers a variety of unique tasting experiences at its picturesque winery in Oakville that allow wine lovers to see, taste and feel firsthand their single vineyard wines and tour the beautifully restored farmstead. 
Nickel & Nickel offers a variety of unique tasting experiences at its picturesque winery in Oakville that allow wine lovers to see, taste and feel firsthand their single vineyard wines and tour the beautifully restored farmstead. 

Tell us more about the wines you specialize in?

Nickel & Nickel Winery Team: We specialize in single-varietal, single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

The grape was and is our inspiration for crafting wine when we founded our first vineyard at our John C. Sullenger estate in Oakville. Cabernet Sauvignon is the varietal that informs our meticulous search for more superb vineyards throughout the Napa Valley.

Over the years we have sought out some of the best sites across Napa’s AVAs (American Viticulture Areas), hand selecting vineyards that are renowned for their distinct geography, climate and soil that together make them ideal for crafting esteemed Cabernet wines that showcase the distinct character and flavors of each site.

Nickel & Nickel is solely devoted to crafting 100-percent varietal, single-vineyard wines from suburb sites throughout the Napa Valley, nurturing the distinctive voice and flavors of each hand-selected vineyard in their state-of-the-art winery in Oakville. 
Nickel & Nickel is solely devoted to crafting 100-percent varietal, single-vineyard wines from suburb sites throughout the Napa Valley, nurturing the distinctive voice and flavors of each hand-selected vineyard in their state-of-the-art winery in Oakville. 

What makes your wine unique?

Nickel & Nickel Winery Team: We craft some of California’s finest single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons, working with 17 superb sites located throughout the Napa Valley from Oakville and Rutherford to Howell Mountain.

Each vineyard is recognized for its unique geography, micro-climate and distinct soil that makes it ideal for growing exceptional Cabernet. We nurture the distinctive voice and flavors of each hand-selected vineyard in our state-of-the-art winery in Oakville, highlighting the site, the soils and the fruit in ways few others are able to achieve.

The ultimate goal is to surprise and delight the palates of wine lovers, vintage after vintage.

Nickel & Nickel’s 30,000 square-foot subterranean barrel cellar appears as a beautifully dramatic and unexpected room, located beneath the fermentation barn.
Nickel & Nickel’s 30,000 square-foot subterranean barrel cellar appears as a beautifully dramatic and unexpected room, located beneath the fermentation barn.

What’s one thing you wish more people knew about your winery?

Nickel & Nickel Winery Team: We are passionate about the planet and committed to sustainability weaving our environmental-friendly initiatives through the fabric of our soils, the vines and our grapes.

The winery is Napa Green certified and we follow an integrated program of sustainable measures from the vineyard, the winery and our day-to-day practices, with a focus on being good stewards of our resources and preserving the Napa Valley for future generations.

The winery is solar powered and a net-zero user of electricity, collects processed water from its winery operations for vineyard irrigation and recycles extensively. 

Named for John C. Sullenger, who purchased the land in 1865 and established the farmstead, the Sullenger House is a handsome farmhouse with charming Queen Anne details that Nickel & Nickel restored in 2002, and now serves as guest reception and hospitality.
Named for John C. Sullenger, who purchased the land in 1865 and established the farmstead, the Sullenger House is a handsome farmhouse with charming Queen Anne details that Nickel & Nickel restored in 2002, and now serves as guest reception and hospitality.

Tell us a little about your winemaker. 

Nickel & Nickel Winery Team: Our Winemaker Joe Harden crafts some of Napa’s finest single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons, working with 17 superb sites located throughout the Napa Valley, from Oakville and Rutherford to Howell Mountain.

Joe brings a diverse background to the wine industry and was a NCAA basketball star and professional basketball player prior to becoming a winemaker. He grew up on a vineyard in Lodi, an upbringing that inspired his early interest in wine and viticulture.

After graduating from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Science in Viticulture and Enology, Joe pressed pause on wine and tested a career in basketball, initially playing in the NBA’s G League before moving overseas to play with the Ballarat Miners in Melbourne, Australia.

He returned to California in 2012, to pursue his love of wine and worked at Robert Mondavi Winery under the tutelage of winemaker Geneviève Janssens where he became winemaker.

In 2018, he joined Nickel & Nickel where in addition to managing the farming and production of 17 award winning single vineyard Cabernets, he has been instrumental in helping the winery transition its vineyards to be organic and is testing biodynamic farming techniques. 

Nickel & Nickel Winemaker Joe Harden joined the winery in 2018 and crafts some of Napa’s finest single vineyard wines.
Nickel & Nickel Winemaker Joe Harden joined the winery in 2018 and crafts some of Napa’s finest single vineyard wines.

Describe your winemaking approach at Nickel & Nickel Winery.

Crafting single vineyard wines requires a deep understanding of terroir as well as the expertise to produce wines of distinction in the cellar.

Nickel & Nickel Winemaker Joe Harden’s goal is to use the lightest of touches as a winemaker, crafting single vineyard, single varietal wines that offer dynamic, nuanced and pure expressions of each vineyard.

He manages the farming of 17 different esteemed vineyards throughout the Napa Valley, from Oakville and Rutherford to Howell Mountain. Each vineyard must meet Nickel & Nickel’s exacting standards and is assessed for its soil, rootstock, clonal selections and farming practices. Our viticulture team farms each site based on what is required to produce the purest expression of its place, a process that produces wines that are remarkably different in character.

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