Heron Lake Vineyard is in the south end of Wild Horse Valley, 1,200 feet higher than the Napa Valley floor and five miles east of Napa town. Wild horses frolicked in the cool climate of Wild Horse Valley in the 19th century, but since then the area has been the home of a gentler breed: grape growers. Grapes were first grown there by Joseph Volpe and Constantino Malandrino, who planted in the 1880's.
Today, the 3,300-acre valley has just about 40 acres of vines in two vineyard operations. Wild Horse Valley is a distinct viticultural appellation: while Napa Valley has hot summer afternoons, Wild Horse's proximity to the San Pablo and Suisun bays exposes it to cool westerly winds. That weather, along with the rocky volcanic soil, results in small yields and fruit of great color, intensity and minerality.