The Duckhorn Portfolio: Luxury in Every Bottle

Over the past decade, and most recently with the launch of the company’s IPO in March of 2021, The Duckhorn Portfolio has emerged as one of the most dynamic and successful mid-sized luxury wine companies in the United States. That the Duckhorn Portfolio is exclusively focused on luxury wine makes the accomplishment somewhat remarkable.

While Decoy and Duckhorn Vineyards are known luxury powerhouses, the company has also established the New World’s most exciting Pinot Noir portfolio. With the acquisitions of superstar wineries Kosta Browne and Calera, and with the company’s foundation of Goldeneye and Migration, The Duckhorn Portfolio’s catalogue of revered Pinot producers is nearly unmatched. And, The Duckhorn Portfolio is the only American wine company with two Wine Spectator “Wine of the Year” winners (Duckhorn Vineyards and Kosta Browne) in its lineup.

Duckhorn Vineyards tasting experience. Photo, Bob McClenahan Photography

The Duckhorn Portfolio’s success is due to a culture of ideas and innovation, and also the team’s focus on quality. “When wine companies grow, there is often an assumption that quality will suffer,” says Renée Ary, who is both vice president of winemaking and the winemaker for Duckhorn Vineyards. “I think we have disproved that idea. For us, growth has meant new state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, the addition of amazing estate vineyards like Three Palms and the resources to continue to make both widely-distributed and small-production winery-only wines using the kind of hands-on, small-lot techniques that are essential to achieving excellence.”

Regarded as one of the top winemakers of her generation, Ary caught lightning in a bottle when her debut 2014 vintage of Three Palms Vineyard Merlot won “Wine of the Year” honors from Wine Spectator in 2017. While that was her first vintage as head winemaker, she already had a decade of Duckhorn Vineyards winemaking experience under her belt. “Working with both of my winemaking predecessors, I learned the Duckhorn Vineyards way from the ground up,” says Ary. “I also learned to see our wines as the benchmark for excellence in the portfolio. In terms of the quality, character and complexity that defines all of our wineries, those values and traditions flow from what we have created at Duckhorn Vineyards since 1976.”

“When wine companies grow, there is often an assumption that quality will suffer. I think we have disproved that idea.” Renée Ary

Ary’s sentiments are echoed by Dana Epperson, who has guided the rise of Decoy as its vice president of winemaking, while also crafting limited-production Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as the winemaker for Migration. While overseeing grower relations for Napa Valley’s Artesa Vineyards early in her career, Epperson was mentored by former Duckhorn Vineyards winemaker Mark Beringer. “In a way, I studied the Duckhorn style before I ever joined The Duckhorn Portfolio,” says Epperson. “Mark taught me to have a light touch as a winemaker and to create classic, balanced wines.”

At Decoy, Epperson has made “the Duckhorn way” a part of the winery’s philosophy. “Decoy does two things very well,” she says. “The wines act as a calling card, introducing new customers to the depth and diversity of our entire portfolio. For people who already know and trust Duckhorn, Decoy has become the go-to source for great wines that can be opened every day.”

In addition to cultivating a culture of excellence, The Duckhorn Portfolio team also embraces innovation and is adept at divining emerging trends. Paraduxx—the first Napa Valley winery dedicated to luxury blends—is a prime example, as is the establishment of roots in Washington State with Canvasback and Greenwing. The two wineries have helped bring the Cabernet Sauvignons of Red Mountain and the terroir-driven wines of Washington to a global audience.

Canvasback’s Wall Walla, Washington winery
Kosta Browne’s tasting gallery overlooks the small-lot fermentation room

At Kosta Browne, the team has ventured beyond its California roots to create exciting new wines from the famed vineyards of Burgundy and Oregon’s Willamette Valley. At Postmark, the team celebrates the uniqueness of Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon and has acquired a 265-acre vineyard in the region. At Decoy, the team has built on the winery’s remarkable success to create Decoy Limited, an elevated tier of wines crafted using grapes from some of the most acclaimed Alexander Valley and Sonoma Coast vineyards. The winery also recently unveiled the Decoy Featherweight Sauvignon Blanc, a sleek, lower-in-calorie/lower-in-alcohol wine.

Decoy 2023 Featherweight Sauvignon Blanc

The Duckhorn Portfolio’s wineries are consistently recognized as quality leaders and benchmarks for their respective regions and categories. Collectively, these acclaimed wineries provide a visionary one-stop luxury shopping experience for wine consumers, spanning all major price points and varieties in luxury wine.

The Duckhorn Portfolio’s gracious approach to hospitality extends to seven world-class tasting rooms: Duckhorn Vineyards, Paraduxx and Migration in Napa Valley, Kosta Browne in Sebastopol, Goldeneye in Anderson Valley, Calera on the Central Coast, and Canvasback in Walla Walla, Washington.

More about each winery:

Duckhorn Vineyards was founded by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn in 1976. Today, the iconic winery produces a portfolio of globally renowned Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay from their acclaimed portfolio of estate vineyards, and some of the finest grower partners in Napa Valley.

Paraduxx was founded by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn in 1994 as the only winery devoted exclusively to producing contemporary Napa Valley blends. Taking inspiration from the great red blends of the world, these wines have established a reputation for their layered complexity and bold, expressive character.

Goldeneye – Early on, Margaret and Dan Duckhorn had a vision—to craft world-class Pinot Noir in the tradition of Burgundy and reflective of California terroir, building on the stature of their Napa Merlot program. Nestled amongst redwood forests, apple orchards, and the fog-shrouded Pacific Coast, Goldeneye specializes in crafting single vineyard expressions of Pinot Noir, each connected to the unique terroir of the region. Guided by Winemaker Kristen McMahan, Goldeneye’s portfolio has earned numerous accolades from what is now the most expansive estate Pinot Noir program in Anderson Valley.

Goldeneye Bubbles & Caviar Experience

Migration is dedicated to exploring Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from California’s finest cool-climate appellations to create wines that highlight lush fruit, bright acidity, and balanced oak.

Decoy  For a quarter century, The Duckhorn Portfolio’s Decoy wines have delivered quality at a great price. With a full range of varietals, Decoy benefits from the specialized knowledge and experience of the company’s eight talented winemakers.

Canvasback – Washington’s rugged Red Mountain has earned a reputation for producing some of the most compelling and distinctive Cabernet Sauvignons in the world. In 2012, Duckhorn came to the region to make Canvasback Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.

Calera was founded by legendary vintner Josh Jensen in 1975. For more than 40 years, Calera has earned acclaim as one of the world’s great wineries, recognized for crafting some of North America’s most revered Pinot Noirs from its Mt. Harlan estate vineyards in the Gabilan Mountains of California’s Central Coast.

Kosta Browne – Founded in 1997, Kosta Browne makes some of the New World’s most sought-after Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. The winery’s acclaimed portfolio of appellation and single-vineyard wines are crafted using grapes from a diverse portfolio of coveted, cool-climate vineyards from California (Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley, Santa Lucia Highlands, Sta. Rita Hills), Oregon (Eola-Amity Hills and Yamhill-Carlton), and Burgundy (Gevrey-Chambertin, Beaune, Pommard, and Volnay).

Greenwing – In much the same way that Decoy provides everyday luxury while serving as an introduction to The Duckhorn Portfolio’s other California wineries, Greenwing was established to help build awareness of the incredible value of Washington’s wines, while offering an expression of Cabernet that embraces the broader diversity of the Columbia Valley.

Postmark allows The Duckhorn Portfolio to explore Cabernet Sauvignon from the sun-kissed vineyards of Paso Robles on California’s Central Coast, the source for some of the state’s most impressive, and impressively affordable, Cabernet Sauvignons.

Browse Duckhorn Portfolio wines via the Duckhorn Wine Shop. For Kosta Browne, become a member to receive access to allocations.

Photos courtesy of The Duckhorn Portfolio

Fran Miller

Fran Endicott Miller is an experienced travel, wine, and general feature writer for a variety of luxury lifestyle publications and websites. Prior to her journalism career she established and managed the Golden State Warriors' first official community relations department and efforts. Principled and genuine, she’s known for thoughtfully eloquent writing. When not traveling, she can be found walking her Northern California neighborhood with her beloved golden retriever Nate.