The Leonardini Vineyard was first planted to grapes in the late 1800's when the Lewelling Family settled on a large tract of land on the southern outskirts of St. Helena. The old-time farmers of the area have said that the soil, Cortina Gravely Loam, in this particular area is renowned for "black" wine grapes. The quality of the harvests varied greatly depending on seasonal rainfall due to the fast draining soils. Due to the uncertainty of yearly harvests, the Lewelling Family turned the vineyard into grazing pastureland in the early 1900's. They also planted grain on a few occasions before leasing the property to the City of St. Helena for a proposed airport. The airport was never constructed but an unused dirt airstrip stood for a number of years.
In 1940, the Lewelling Family sold part of their tract to Fred Boraldo that included what are now the Leonardini Vineyard and the Harvest Inn. During these years, the electric railroad ran trains across the western edge of the property and Boraldo continued to use the land for grazing cattle. Boraldo sold the property to Richard Geyer in 1973 and in 1979 Geyer built the Harvest Inn on the lot that fronts the main highway.
Wild mustard and various grasses grew in the 14-acre vineyard site behind the Harvest Inn until 1989 when the vineyard was finally replanted under the direction of Whitehall Lane Winery. In 1993 the Leonardini Family of Whitehall Lane Winery bought the vineyard. Two separate wells were sunk and irrigation added to feed the vines during the growing season and rootstocks and clones were perfectly matched to the climate and soil to insure quality fruit.
There is approximately 10 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon planted and a little more than two and one-half acres of Merlot. The rootstock that was chosen works well in Cortina Gravely Loam and clones were picked because of their excellent track record in the Rutherford and St. Helena climates. The canopy and pruning system in place allows maximum sun exposure without over-cropping.
The Wine Spectator selected the Leonardini Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon as the finest representation for the St. Helena appellation. This is what a St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon should taste like.