Promontory’s history is as unique as its extraordinary wine. The most recent addition to the Harlan family’s portfolio, which includes Meadowood, The Napa Valley Reserve, Harlan Estate, and Bond, Promontory is nestled in the western hills of Oakville behind an inconspicuous front gate without any signage that can be easily missed. 

In developing Promontory, Bill Harlan not only envisioned a new winemaking venture, but discovered a blueprint for generational impact. After concepting his own label (the Mascot), Bill’s son, Will Harlan, took the Promontory reins, leveraging his father’s experience while forging his own signature style. Here’s what’s not to miss:

The Vineyard

Arriving at Promontory we were greeted by Charlie Williams, Director of Hospitality and Membership, and handed a perfectly chilled glass of Dom Perignon. Our tour of the facility starts at the Southern vista looking across a beautiful valley towards the vineyards.

The Promontory Vineyard is located several miles to the south on a rugged area of 840 acres in the foothills of Mount Veeder that averages 40 percent slope. Only 10 percent of the property is plantable and it is bisected by two seismic fault lines which produce three distinctly different soil types. Story has it that Bill Harlan had coveted the property since 1984 when he discovered it on a hike when he was planting Harlan Estate nearby, however, it took him until 2008 when he was able to acquire the land in three separate parcels and put them together. It is this uniquely complex geography that underwrites the natural purity and authenticity of the wines. 

Architectural Design

One of my favorite aspects of Promontory is the architecture by famous Napa architect Howard Backen. An industrial feel juxtaposes the beauty of the land, as concrete, steel, and glass are employed at nearly every vantage point to frame the views of the surrounding land. 

During our visit (a typical tour and tasting fee is $200 per person) we discovered the modern fermentation hall where they use a mix of concrete and French oak to age the wines 9-12 months, we then go down to the beautifully lit cellars where the blended wine is aged in Austrian Stockinger Oak casks for another 5 years. 


The anchor to Promontory’s outstanding wines is the aforementioned land. As such, the winery’s acclaimed vintages beautifully deliver a celebration of terroir. The Promontory team has gone to great lengths to bottle the essence of the soil, which culminates in the forests, the moisture of the fog, and the minerality of the unique geology. Our tasting started with a 2018 vintage (from the cask), which won’t be released until fall 2023. We then sipped the 2009 Promontory—the first commercial vintage—followed by the 2014 Promontory. All are magnificent: rich and robust, they exhibit a complexity and restraint that provide a unique differentiation and celebrate the vineyard’s rugged and natural landscape.

Visits to Promontory are offered between 10-3pm daily and can be arranged by appointment at email or call (707) 963-2206.