S1 E5: Duckhorn Vineyards Podcast


Sideways, the movie, gave Merlot a bad rap, but we are here to tell you that it’s an incredible grape, that makes delicious wines, and you need to try some for yourself!

To help convince you that Merlot isn’t a joke of a grape, we enlisted the help of Neil Bernardi, Vice President at Duckhorn Vineyards. Personally, we can’t think of a producer that makes better Merlot than Duckhorn, and the company is in large part built on their reputation for making incredible Merlot. That’s a rarity in Napa Valley where Cabernet is King, but after this interview, we think you’re going to want to reach for a bottle of Merlot.


That there is a picture of me underneath on of the palm trees that gives Duckhorn’s Three Palms Vineyard. And it was one of the happiest days of my life. Because I got to check out what may be the best Merlot vineyard in the world. I just had to share that one because it makes me happy to see!

I’m telling you what Duckhorn does with their Merlot is incredible. Where many companies think of Merlot as an afterthought or treat it as “Cabernet Lite,” Duckhorn is focused on making incredible Merlots that are distinctly Merlot. That may be a little repetitive, but I mean it. They want their Merlot to taste like Merlot, and not just any Merlot, the best Merlot possible.

I respect that, because it could rip out the Merlot, plant Cabernet, and maybe make more money, but they don’t. They make Merlot because they love making Merlot. It’s like respecting art for art’s sake. And whether you have a bottle of a single vineyard Merlot, their “regular” Napa Valley Merlot or the Decoy Merlot, it’s a great bottle.

Looping back on the picture, I’ve been lucky enough to visit Duckhorn and I was treated with such incredible kindness and they’ve gone above and beyond to help me learn more about wine. I promise you they do that for everyone that walks in the door – wine “expert” or novice.

They put a lot of effort into helping their customers learn more about wine and discover what goes in to the process of “putting grapes into glass.” I think that’s important. When you’re at a vineyard, you can really understand the process and pick up so much more than going to a class elsewhere, or even listening to a podcast 😉


Duckhorn has a super easy to use and helpful website that lets you purchase bottles that you won’t find on any retail shelves, check out their suggested recipes, and learn more about their wines. Visit their website and discover the wide, wide world of Duckhorn. I particularly like the Rector Creek Merlot.

If you’d like to purchase a few bottles of Duckhorn’s Merlot and support the podcast, you can use this link and wine.com will deliver them to your house:

For more wine tips, suggestions, and updates, you can follow us on social media! Search for Wine 201 Podcast, or click these links:

Thanks for listening – cheers!

Bridget & Nick

*We may receive an affiliate commission if you make a purchase using our links.