Duckhorn Vineyards has established itself over a number of decades as one of Napa Valley's most prestigious wineries. Unlike most Napa wineries, it is most famous for its Merlot, which founders Dan and Margaret Duckhorn saw as more than just a blending variety. Duckhorn makes a wide range of wines, from varietal and blended wines focusing on Merlot to wines made from other classic California varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.
The estate was founded near St Helena in 1976. The first vintage, in 1978, consisted of 800 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon and 800 of Merlot. The Duckhorns came to appreciate Merlot for its approachability, smooth texture, and youthful drinkability, and today it forms the basis of the winery's flagship wines. In 2015, Duckhorn bought the Three Palms vineyard, a vineyard that is considered to be one of the best for Merlot in California. Duckhorn has purchased fruit from this vineyard since 1978 and in 2011, was granted exclusive access.