Ranch House Estate
Nestled in the heart of the St. Helena Appellation sits Titus Vineyards’ 50 acre Ranch House Estate. This picturesque piece of property sprawls along the base of Howell Mountain, with Silverado Trail on its Eastern border and the Napa River to its West. Views of the Mayacamus range and Mt. St. Helena are breathtaking at any time of year, most especially from the sun porch of the original 1910 ranch house, for which the estate is aptly named.
When the Titus family purchased the farm it had already been producing grapes for better than 60 years, along with other fruits, nuts and hay. The original vines of long-since-forgotten varietals like Mondeuce, Burger, and Golden Chasselas were dry farmed and healthy, but the hot up-valley climate and the soil, made up of a mixture of dusty clay, sand and river loam, was more suited to Bordeaux varietals and hearty Zinfandel. Replanting commenced, and by the mid 70’s the first replant was complete.
A second replant became necessary in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Clonal Cabernet Sauvignons such as See’s and 337 on vertical drip-system trellises replaced old plantings of dry-farmed, diseased and ageing Cabernet. While most of the vineyard was replaced in the layout we see today, the two large blocks of Zinfandel still remain from the original replant done by the Titus family. Dry farmed and on St. George rootstock, these vines continue to produce beautiful mature-vine fruit.
The modern-day Ranch House Estate is home to 8 different varietals laid out in 16 blocks across the property, with the largest portion still dedicated to Bordeaux varietals. Most of Titus Vineyards’ wine production comes from the vines on this historic estate, and it is also home to some 100 Tuscan varietal olive trees, from which the Titus Vineyards olive oil is produced.
Only about a mile north of her sister property is a rocky volcanic knoll rising out of the valley floor. Still located within the St. Helena Appellation, and rather reminiscent of Tuscany with cypress trees lining the drive and olive trees ringing the crest, the property commands a view of Spring and Diamond Mountains to the west, the Vaca range to the east, and a swath of Napa’s finest vineyards between.
Not the least of this view is the Titus family’s 10 acres of Clone 337 Cabernet Sauvignon and some Petite Verdot. Dense volcanic soil peppered with stones and boulders creates difficult growing conditions for the vines, and leads to mountainside attributes exhibiting themselves in this valley floor fruit. Struggling vines = less fruit = better quality. For this reason, Phillip chooses to use these loose clusters of tiny berries to create the Titus Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon each year.