Rutherford, with just 160 residents calling it home, is a quaint community tucked between neighbouring Oakville and St. Helena along Napa Valley’s main thoroughfare. Primarily due to its central location, this tiny hamlet offers small town living along with the perks and amenities of a larger town or city. Combined with the Rutherford AVA’s world-class viticulture that surrounds it, Rutherford is a perfect fit for those seeking the rural Napa lifestyle.
In 1864, George C. Yount gave a 1,040-acre portion of his land grant to his granddaughter Elizabeth and her husband Thomas Rutherford as a wedding present. Thomas Rutherford subsequently established himself as a grower and producer of high-quality wines during the late 1800’s. The unique terroir of the Rutherford AVA, which today encompasses 6,650 acres, produces complex and distinctive wines that rival any European Bordeaux. Rutherford is indelibly etched on the palates of wine and food aficionados worldwide.
Rutherford’s AVA includes Robert Mondavi Winery (which it shares with neighboring Oakville), as well as notable wineries like Grgich Hills Estate, Peju Province Winery, Beaulieu Vineyards, Rutherford Hill, Raymond Vineyards and landmark Inglenook Estate, a historic winery founded in 1879. The unique soil in the Rutherford area, once a riverbed, produces wines in which fruit and herb flavors are tinged with a mysterious, almost spicy element known as “Rutherford dust.” These soils allow a well-trained palate to immediately distinguish a Rutherford AVA wine from its Napa Valley counterparts.
For such a small enclave, the choice of restaurants in Rutherford is impressive, the most notable being the restaurant at Auberge du Soleil which offers arguably the most magnificent views of the Napa Valley. The resort also has a world class spa where you can treat yourself to a variety of massage and facial treatments, many of which incorporate local ingredients. Local favorite Rutherford Grill is popular meeting place for locals and tourists alike.