Realm Cellars was founded in 2002 by Juan Mercado, and is known for its powerful, luscious Cabernet Sauvignon from premium vineyards – including To Kalon, Dr. Crane, and Farella. It is quickly becoming one of Napa Valley’s cult producers. There is a devoted mailing list following, and much of the wine is sold directly to members, or to restaurants.
Realm also owns its own vineyards, having purchased the Hartwell Estate Vineyards in Stags Leap District in late 2015. From the 2016 vintage the wines have been made at the former Hartwell winery. Before this they were made at Chateau Boswell in St. Helena.
The wines at Realm follow a Shakespearean theme, and every bottle has a quote from King Richard II: “This blessed plot, this earth, this realm…” The wines are named after various Shakespeare plays. While the Beckstoffer To Kalon and Dr. Crane Cabernets are the most coveted offerings, there are also wines called Tempest, The Bard and Falstaff.
Juan Mercado originally worked in hospital administration before moving into the wine industry in the 1990s, working harvests at Livingston Moffett Wines and Pax Wine Cellars. In 2002, he bought five tons of Cabernet Sauvignon from the famed To Kalon vineyard and five tons of Cabernet, Merlot and Cabernet Franc from Dominus Estate’s Napanook Vineyard, and Realm Cellars was born.
The company is now run on a day to day basis by Managing Partner Scott Becker. Benoit Touquette has been the winemaker since 2011.