Chile's Montes Wines will release its first Napa Valley wines in September – the first Chilean company to expand into the United States.
Export manager Carlos Serrano told decanter.com Montes wanted to be in Napa 'because we like a good challenge'.
Their first Californian release, a 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley grapes, will be sold both in the United States and worldwide.
Next year's offering will also include Syrah sourced from Paso Robles, which will go into a blend whose exact composition has yet to be finalised.
Some 7,500 cases will be released initially, with the ultra premium wines selling at around US$70 per bottle. The company eventually aims to produce 20,000 cases annually.
Montes is buying grapes from various growers and renting facilities at the Artesa winery in Carneros. Serrano said Montes plans to stay at Artesa rather than build its own winery in the region.
Winemaking duties have been assumed by Larry Levine, former head winemaker at Franciscan Estates, and Aurelio Montes, co-owner and chief winemaker of Montes.
'We have been down this road before in Argentina. Right now, we're just getting to know our neighbors and learning how things get done there,' said Serrano.