Alfred W. Baxter, Founding Winemaker

In the early 1970s legendary California winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff telephoned amateur winemaker Al Baxter and invited himself to dinner and a tasting.  Tchelistcheff who was at that time the most influential post prohibition American winemaker was the mentor for such notables as Robert Mondavi and Louis Martini.  He was most notable for his contributions toward defining the style of California’s best wines, especially the Beaulieu Private Reserve Georges de Latour Cabernet Sauvignon.  Andre had heard about Baxter’s amateur winemaking and about some wonderful wines made by Al in his basement.  After the dinner and tasting  Tchelistcheff  concluded the wines were very good.  He advised Baxter to consider going commercial.  Veedercrest was born!    

Award Winning Wines Since 1972

    Veedercrest has been making award winning wines since its founding in 1972.  It was one of the participants at the infamous Judgement of Paris.  It has won significant awards at most of the major wine judgings around the world.  President Jimmy Carter and his White House dinner guests and Pope John Paul II during visits to America enjoyed Veedercest wines.

90, 91, 92, 92, 93, 93 and 94 Point Wines

Double Gold, Double Gold, Gold, Gold, Gold and More

    Recent Veedercrest Cabernet Sauvignon releases have earned  91 and 93 point scores from James Suckling (former European Bureau Chief, Wine Spectator,, have garnered  a 90, 92, 92, 93, and 94 from Wine Enthusiast (see December 1, 2011 edition), Double Gold awards from the 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the 2011 American Fine Wine Competition (Boca Raton), and Gold and Silver medls have been earned at the 2010 and 2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the 2011 American Fine Wine Competition.

Primarily A Cabernet Winery

    Veedercrest is primarily a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon winery specializing in single vineyard hillside properties.  There are currently seven cabernet sauvignons in the line including Mt. Veeder, St. Helena/Glass Mountain, Howell Mountain, Oakville Bench, Rutherford Bench, and Napa Valley cuvees from vintages ranging from 2005 to 2010.  Experience the terrior differences of the various Napa Valley appellations.


Plus Unique Elegant French or Italian Style Chardonnay

    Veedercrest was honored to have been commended for making the most French style Chardonnay of any Chardonnays in the infamous 1976 Tasting of Paris.  We still make our Chardonnay that way – unlike most other California wineries.  Do you like Chablis?  Are you one of those “ABC” (anything but Chardonnay) drinkers?  Then we encourage you to try our Chablis or Piemontese style Chardonnay.  No overly oaked vanilla flavors.  No extreme buttery flavors from heavy malolactic fermentation.  Try a Chardonnay with apple, pineapple, mango, and lemon flavors. You will love it.

The Noble Cabernet Sauvignon Grape

    Baxter formed an investment group with co-principals Ron Fenolio (now sole proprietor of Veedercrest) and the Ring Family of New Jersey.  A 300 acre property was acquired on Mt. Veeder  for vineyard development and a vineyard was planted.  In the 1970s vineyards, especially mountain vineyards, were planted with much winder spacing than today.  Part of the reason was to allow the wide track tractors to work between the rows without turning over.  Today tractors can be adjusted so that the tractor is level and the wheels and tracks ride on different levels of the vineyard.  Veedercrest pioneered planting some of the steepest slopes on the higher elevations of Mt. Veeder.    

Among Baxter’s innovations as one of the early California pioneering winemakers was his participation in the development of fruit forward wines, the making of California’s first true Bordeaux blend (using all five Bordeaux varieties including grapes from the only acre of Malbec in California), and promoting truth in labeling with full varietal descriptions and full vineyard designations on the front label of the bottles.

    The year 1972 saw the first releases, including Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot and Reisling. By 1976 the wines had garnered such critical acclaim that they were selected by Steve Spurrier to be in the infamous 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting where Chateau Montelena and Stags Leap bested the best of the French.  Make sure you see the entertaining movie “Bottle Shock” about this great event, featuring Chateau Montelena’s story.  At that historic tasting Veedercrest Chardonnay was acclaimed as the most “French” in style of all the Chardonnay wines entered, regardless of whether French or California in origin.  Veedercrest wines were later served at White House dinners under President Jimmy Carter and to Pope John Paul II during his visit to Philadelphia.  In 1981, at the International Wine Exposition in Bristol, England, Veedercrest  garnered more awards for its wines than any other American winery.  Following Baxter’s passing the tradition of making some of Napa Valley’s finest wines in the European and California traditions has been continued by noted winemaker Chad Alexander.


Harvest Time and the First Vineyard on Mt. Veeder

Packaging 1975 Merlot Bottled Tregnums