Reserve Wines

Eighty-four years of farming + Thirty years of winemaking + Two blocks

We are delighted to bring you the first ever Reserve wines from Hendry! These wines are the culmination of decades of farming, winemaking, and learning at the Hendry Ranch. In thirty vintages of the Hendry label, these are the very first wines created with the Reserve designation. There are three things that set these wines apart: vineyard sites, winemaking techniques, and barrel selection.  


George Hendry is a farmer, but as many of you know, he is also a scientist. Studying the Hendry vineyard and its wines has been a life-long experiment. The fruit for Hendry Reserve wines is sourced from two of the oldest and most desirable vineyard blocks on our ranch.

Old vines aren't good because they are old; they get to be old because they are good. 

Hendry Chardonnay Reserve is made exclusively from Blocks 9C and 9E, planted in 1974. These are exceptionally low-yielding, old vines, in deep, stony soils. The fruit they produce is concentrated, complex and flavorful due to the mix of clones and the miniscule amount of fruit they produce. This is the kind of planting that would never survive on a larger, more profit-oriented vineyard site. Many of its contemporaries have long since been ripped out in favor of more lucrative varieties, leaving these among the oldest Chardonnay vines remaining in the valley.

Hendry Cabernet Reserve is made exclusively with grapes from the southern side of Blocks 8C, D, E and F. These gnarled, slow-maturing and low-yielding vines were also among the first that George planted in 1974. Block 8 has a long history of inclusion in some of Napa's finest and most foundational wines - a history of which we are very proud.


A dozen paper cups on a black countertop, each marked with the block, pressure, and other important details in black.

Winemaking at Hendry is remarkably hands-on. For the Chardonnay Reserve, George stands by as the press is fired up and grapes are brought in from the vineyard. As the grapes are pressed, the pressure levels are periodically increased. With each increase, he creates a distinct lot - or "press fraction" - with slightly different chemistries and characteristics than what came before. These tiny lots are barreled individually, giving George another set of variables to work with when creating the final blend. The wine remains sur lie (on the yeast) for 12 months, which adds wonderful texture and body. The creamy feel of the wine is enhanced by regular bâtonnage, or hand-stirring of the yeast, during this time.

For the Cabernet Reserve, George also works with multiple small lots - but in this case, the first segmentation happens in the vineyard. Our vineyard team picked the fruit from the north and south sides of the blocks individually. Each lot is crushed, cold-soaked and fermented with extended skin contact. They are then placed in a selection of barrels with different cooperages and ages for an extended aging period of 24 months. Ultimately, George selected the lots produced from just the south sides of the oldest sections of Block 8 to build the final blend for the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve.

Barrel Selection

Yellow paper label with black lettering on a wood barrel background

After the flurry of initial decision making that accompanies harvest comes to end, it is time for the barrels to work their magic. Even barrels from the same cooperage and forest can vary from one another in small but significant ways. George studies these small variations as diligently as he studies differences between press fractions or vineyard lots. As he checks the progress of these small stacks of barrels in the quiet of the cellar, one or two may stand out as being particularly striking. These are set aside, then thoughtfully matched and blended for further aging. The barrels selected from the 2020 Chardonnay Reserve lots were 85% new French oak, primarily Cadus cooperage. For the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, George found the wines aged in 100% new French oak from Taransaud to be the most compelling.

The resulting limited-edition bottlings have all the hallmarks of age-worthy wines: dense, layered, complex and structured, with pinpoint balance and flavors that linger on the palate in a long, elegant finish. 

We are so proud of these additions to the Hendry portfolio. These wines have been a true labor of love and learning for George Hendry, and we hope you enjoy drinking them as much as he has enjoyed making them. Cheers!



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