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Delia Viader – Daring To Be Different With Viader Winery
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There is a reason you can identify an artist’s work just by looking at it. Each creation is infused with vision, life experiences, and characteristics that reflect something much more powerful and personal than mere paint on a canvas or a shapely lump of ably molded clay. Wine, too, is an art form, and each vintage is as unique as a fingerprint, bearing its own unique identity but also taking cues from the person who created it. Winemaker and vineyard owner Delia Viader of Viader Winery knows this well, in fact, she embodies the very idea. Her road to international recognition was not always an easy one, but her arrival has been met with great appreciation by both industry insiders as well as thirsty consumers. As for her wines, she says it best:

“An elegant wine showing the staying power that a blend of mountain grown Cabernet Sauvignon highly influenced by Cabernet Franc delivers. A wine that involves all your senses and presents itself as pure natural harmony, and serves as the perfect background music to an evening’s conversation between two good friends. That’s the kind of wine I like to make. I aspire to that. Nothing more.”


Brilliant and Determined

Delia Viader was born in Argentina, but she grew up a citizen of the world, spending quite a bit of time in Europe — France in particular — and becoming proficient in four different languages. Her post-graduate education brought her to the United States, where she built on her doctorate in philosophy from the Sorbonne by studying business at such notable institutions as UC Davis, MIT, and UC Berkeley. It was at Berkeley that she truly fell in love with the United States, and she began planning a long-term future, both personally and professionally, in her new-found Californian home.

It would’ve have been hard to have lived in California in the 1980s and not have been at least a little taken in by the budding – and vastly promising – local wine scene, and Viader was certainly not immune to the magic. She saw the potential and believed there was a place for her in the upcoming surge. Luckily, her father believed it too. It was his initial investment that enabled Viader to begin turning her dreams into delicious reality, starting with the purchase of property on Howell Mountain. And so, in 1986, VIADER was founded.

Continuing Education

Most people rack up years of college and a whole host of degrees before taking a faith-filled leap into entrepreneurial waters, and Delia Viader was no exception; she just happened to specialize in a field fairly far removed from her new endeavors. She soon sought to remedy that by enrolling in the Enology and Viticulture program at the University of California Davis. By not being afraid to admit what she didn’t know and putting in the time and work to build her brand even as she studied the theory, history, and mechanics behind the creation of fine wine, she positioned herself as not just a visionary, but a daring one.

Over the last 30 years, Viader’s fearless leader has ushered numerous vintages into the international spotlight, basking in phenomenal reviews, countless awards, and plenty of appreciative fans. She has raised four children – two of whom work at the winery now – and became every inch the “educated farmer” she once promised her father she would be.

The Wines

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Viader Winery on Howell Mountain Napa Ca

VIADER Winery was founded in 1986, but the first vintage wasn’t ready for commercial release until 1989. The end result is a portfolio filled with elegant wines that epitomize the class and precision of the women who helped bring them to life. The winery is on Howell Mountain’s lower steeps, giving visitors a sweeping view of the surrounding areas but also taking advantage of the rocky volcanic soil the area is known for.

Instead of terracing, Viader opted for a European style method of planting down the slope with vines facing East/West. Viader’s preference for European tradition and methodologies are also reflected in her wines, and the vineyard is now fully biodynamic.

VIADER “Liquid Cashmere” Napa Valley 2011

VIADER’s signature red blend emphasizes typicity, showcasing the VIADER estate and the elevation and terroir it sits on. A luscious mouthful of wild strawberry, black cherry, and cassis intermingle with the sweet and spicy smells of Grandma’s freshly baked berry cobbler. There’s an herbal note that tempers the lighter layers, but it’s the vibrant acidity that prods the palate awake that keeps fans coming back bottle after bottle.

VIADER “Black Label” Napa Valley 2013

This promising blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc doesn’t even ship until spring of 2015, but the winemaker’s notes alone should encourage prompt pre-ordering: “This dark juicy blend explodes with concentrated black fruits – currant, spicy blackberry, huckleberry, boysenberry. Another layer reveals dusty cocoa, dark chocolate, subtle hints of anise, dark toasty barrel notes, sweet oak flavors and caramel.”

DARE by VIADER Cabernet Franc Napa Valley 2012

VIADER’s second label DARE produces one of the most delicious examples of Cabernet Franc in all of Napa Valley. Plum, raspberry, bing cherry, chocolate, lavender, violets, fennel seed, tarragon, crème brulee, graphite – all the most characteristic components of Cabernet Franc are here, in one of the most brilliantly balanced, luscious, plump, sexy, silky, smoothly finishing wines you could ask for.

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About The Author
Alana Luna
Alana Luna
Alana is a freelance food and wine writer currently living in Las Vegas, NV. She is a lifelong hospitality enthusiast, having been born into the industry and raised in restaurants (and perhaps the odd bar or two…). Prior to writing full time, Alana worked on the Las Vegas Strip where she was lucky to learn from some of the leading wine professionals in the world while tasting some of the very best bottles wine country (in the broadest sense of the term) has to offer. Above all, she believes in the power of a really good story, and stories involving food and wine are her very favorite tales to tell.
  • Ian Gerard-Pearse
    January 10, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    My compliments to Delia and her family. The wines sound fabulous and I would very much like to investigate the opportunity of shipping a small quantity to Europe if that is of interest to you Delia..

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