2018 Ovid, Hexameter, Red Wine, Napa Valley, Case of 3 Btls JD99/AG98
2015 Ovid, Proprietary Red, Napa Valley, Case of 3 Btls JD99

Ovid Napa Valley – A Metamorphoses of Terroir, Tradition & Craftmanship

Perched at an elevation of 1,349 feet on the secluded mountaintop of Pritchard Hill in Napa Valley, OVID.

Winery is not just a producer of exceptional wines—it's a living testament to the dynamic interplay of terroir, tradition, and the constant pursuit of transformation. In this exploration, we delve into the unique elements that define OVID, from its distinctive terroir to its commitment to the artistry of excellent winemaking.

OVID: An Estate Rooted In Poetry

The OVID estate is situated northwest of Oakville, California, in the volcanic soils of Pritchard Hill. Established by Mark Nelson and Dana Johnson in 1998 as a vacation home, the winery draws its name from the Roman poet Ovid, whose Metamorphoses inspired a path embracing themes of transformation and change. Rooted in tradition, OVID keeps perfect meter, reminding us that winemaking is a product of discipline, rigor, and observation.

Guiding the winemaking journey at OVID is Austin Peterson, son of a winemaker and a native of Sonoma County. Joining in 2006 as an enologist under the guidance of the infamous Andy Erickson, Peterson became the winemaker in 2010. Embracing a tension between classical and cutting-edge methods, he continually pushes the wines to new heights, recognizing that the surface has only been scratched in this remarkable place.

Silver Oak

In 2017, founders Mark Nelson and Dana Johnson, alongside Silver Oak proprietor David Duncan, united to plan OVID's future. This collaboration preserves the original essence of OVID. while leveraging resources from the Duncan family of wine brands. Their shared commitment to sustainability, technology, and quality shapes the continued success of OVID Winery.

Ovid Napa Valley: The Vineyard

OVID Napa Valley stands as a singular, dynamic, and continuous experiment in terroir. Nestled on the western reaches of Pritchard Hill, the vineyard thrives at an elevation of 1,349 feet. Dating back to the time of Charles Pritchard in the 19th century, modern winegrowing began here in the late 1960s, establishing Pritchard Hill as synonymous with exceptional quality and consistency. Here, iron-rich volcanic soils, abundant sunshine, and native chaparral flora alchemize to create wines that are focused, long-lived, and a true celebration of their source—the land itself.

The heart of OVID lies in its organically farmed fifteen-acre vineyard, where one-acre blocks are meticulously planted with a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Syrah. The estate produces four distinct wines sourced from these blocks, each a reflection of the unique terroir. Complementing these, Experiment wines are released annually - limited editions that contribute to the soul and ethos of OVID's winemaking philosophy: Change is the only constant.

The Metamorphoses – From Vine To Wine

Farming on Pritchard Hill demands dedication, patience, resources, and deep engagement. The stakes are high, the rewards hard-earned. In all the estate wines, a common pattern emerges—concentration, aromatic potency, and an architectural beauty designed by the genius of incredible land and a determined team.

Robert Parker Awarding 99 Points for 2013 Ovid. Hexameter

"Their exercise with a Cabernet Franc-dominated wine, the 2013 Hexameter (a 500-case blend of 64% Cabernet Franc, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Merlot) is pushing perfection. ... A “wow” wine in so many different aspects, this multi-dimensional classic should age beautifully for 20 or more years.” December 2015

The Hexameter – “A wow wine in so many different aspects”

The transformation of Hexameter from experimental beginnings to flagship prominence is a captivating narrative that unfolds at OVID. Estate. The initial question that sparked this journey was simple yet profound: How captivating could a Cabernet Franc-focused wine from the estate vineyard be? The Experiment program, initiated in 2005, set the stage, producing an intriguing Franc-centric wine that became the catalyst for four years of perfecting. This focused effort aimed to hone the wine, identify the best vineyard blocks, and ultimately propel Hexameter as the winery's unwavering pursuit of excellence.

A Name As Poetic As The Wine

Hexameter draws its name from the ancient Roman poet and name-giver of the estate, OVID. The concept of poetic meter, which animates and organizes the information within a poem's words, seamlessly translates to the world of wine. In the context of Hexameter, the vineyard serves as the poetic impulse, and the wine itself becomes the meter and language. The rhythmic structure of Hexameter articulates a profound affinity for Cabernet Franc within the terroir of Ovid.'s vineyard.

Geology & Vineyard Expression

Cabernet Franc, a genetic parent to esteemed varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, possesses unique qualities that make it an articulate expression of terroir. Hexameter, distinguished by its lighter body and more floral character compared to Cabernet Sauvignon, serves as a testament to the life force of the vineyard. Planted on soils of the yellow end of the spectrum, reflecting their relative youth compared to the site's parent rock, Cabernet Franc in Hexameter authentically presents the vineyard's essence before acquiring its signature rusty red hue through oxidation.

Winemaker's Insight

Hexameter wines undergo a meticulous winemaking process under the discerning eye of OVID.'s dedicated winemaker, Austin Peterson. Post-primary fermentation, the wines embark on a journey in French oak barrels for 14-16 months, undergoing a slow maturation process that imparts depth and complexity. Peterson's profound admiration for Cabernet Franc is palpable, contemplating how the winery's identity might have centered around this varietal if not for its established roots in Cabernet Sauvignon. Farming methods and soil preparations are actively refined to accommodate the expanding Cabernet Franc program while preserving the delicate balance with other varietals.

The Philosophy Of Change Continues…

Combined with the evolving vineyard, Hexameter continues to unfold its narrative. New blocks of Cabernet Franc are becoming integral to the vineyard, enriching the Hexameter story. The introduction of field selections from iconic Cabernet Franc plantings in California further amplifies the tale, as these vines adapt and evolve on Pritchard Hill, expressing something truly exceptional.

Savor The Beauty

From the mountaintop vineyards to the winemaker's craft, OVID. invites enthusiasts to savor the essence of a remarkable place, where every bottle tells a story of dedication, tradition, and the natural artistry of winemaking. The beauty of ancient poetry cannot only be found in the naming of the estate and its wines, it is truly experienced in every sip you take.

Written by: Arabella Maislinger

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