Oakville South Station Vineyard
Oakville, Napa Valley
Complant Wine’s Cabernet Sauvignon grown at Oakville South Station, which was gifted to the University of California-Davis’s Department of Viticulture and Enology in 1947. The vineyard was originally one of the holdings of H.W. Crabb, the founder of the legendary To Kalon Vineyard Company. (Its neighbor to the west, Martha’s Vineyard, was essentially ground zero for the single vineyard movement in California.) Daniel first visited the property in 1976 which he was studying with the noted Professor H.P. Olmo. The vineyard at that time was a hodgepodge of experiments and, as he puts it bluntly, a complete mess. From 1982 to 1994, while Daniel was at Dominus, he managed the property but did little to tame the chaos.
In 2020, the department chairman at UC-Davis asked Daniel if he was interested in purchasing some fruit from the Oakville South Station. “I went to the vineyard out of a sense of nostalgia and courtesy,” he said. “Boy, was I in for a surprise. The vineyard had been replanted. It was impeccably farmed and breathtaking to behold. Every time I visit, which is about once a week, I want to lie on the soil and do dirt angels. I have never walked on vineyard soil that has the tilth of this gravelly loam. There is always a slight bounce in every step, as if the soil is a living thing (which, of course, it is). The fruit always arrives at the winery with near-perfect juice chemistry — something I have never seen from another vineyard in 50 years of winemaking.” Complaint is the first to pick Cabernet every vintage, which helps explain the freshness in every bottle of wine.