Stags Leap District became an officially designated AVA (American Viticultural Area) in 1989. To use the appellation on a label, wineries must use 85 percent fruit grown within the district.
The district is located five miles north of the town of Napa, and east of the Napa River, along the Silverado Trail. Covering an area three miles long and a mile wide, half of its 2,700 acres are planted to vineyards.
The Stags Leap Palisades are the most prominent geographical feature in the area and are part of the Vaca Range that stretches along the eastern side of Napa Valley. Erosion from the palisades is the source of the volcanic soil acknowledged as a contributing factor to the modern reputation for Cabernet Sauvignon in the Stags Leap District
History of Stags Leap District
The Silverado trail was a quiet horse path in the 1800's that miners traveled to access the quicksilver mines at the northeast end of Napa Valley. Although Stags' Leap Winery wasn't the first winery in the region (it was the second), it was the first winery to use the name Stags Leap on the wine labels. There are fun theories on where the name Stags Leap came from, one of which is on our history page.