“It All Started With a Handshake”
Silver Oak began over a handshake between two friends with a bold vision: focus on one varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon, aged exclusively in American oak and worthy of cellaring for decades to come.
Ray Twomey Duncan, a Colorado entrepreneur who began investing in California vineyards in the late 1960s, and Justin Meyer, a Christian Brothers-trained winemaker, co-founded Silver Oak out of a Napa Valley dairy barn in 1972, producing only 1,000 cases of their inaugural vintage.
Rooted in Family and Friendship
Over the next two decades, Silver Oak grew in popularity. Their Napa Valley and Alexander Valley Cabernets sold quickly upon release from the winery and became a highly sought-after staple on restaurant wine lists nationwide. After selecting Daniel Baron to succeed him as winemaker in 1994, Justin retired, selling his share of Silver Oak to the Duncan family in 2001. Ray’s sons, David and Tim Duncan, own and operate the winery to this day.
In 2006, a fire destroyed Silver Oak's historic Oakville winery. While rebuilding was a difficult and emotional event; the opportunity to design a new, state-of-the-art winery from the ground up has resulted in better Napa Valley Cabernets and minimised their eco footprint.
Ten years after the fire, Silver Oak Napa Valley was designated the world’s first LEED Platinum winery for existing buildings, operations and maintenance (EBOM) by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
When the time came to reimagine the Silver Oak Alexander Valley winery, they applied the lessons learned from the Oakville winery and set an even higher bar. With a goal of net-zero water and energy as a north star, the new Sonoma county winery has since become the world’s first winery to achieve LEED Platinum for building, design and construction (BD+C).
Silver Oak is guided by the philosophy that they have yet to make their best bottle of wine.
They farm more than 400 acres of vines in Napa Valley and Alexander Valley with a leading-edge approach toward farming and viticulture, and the softest possible impact on natural resources and the environment.
Since 2014, Napa Valley native Nate Weis has overseen all grape growing and winemaking operations at Silver Oak. Nate worked side-by-side with his predecessor Daniel Baron, just as Daniel worked with Justin Meyer before his retirement. These overlapping tenures ensure consistency and quality control, as well as the inherent wisdom that their best wines are still ahead of them.