In 1994, Voss Vineyards was conceived and founded by Australian Robert Hill Smith, the fifth-generation proprietor of Yalumba Winery in Barossa Valley, as well as Nautilus Estate in Marlborough, New Zealand. With 160 years of Australian winemaking heritage and experience behind him, Hill Smith approaches wines in Australia, New Zealand and California with a focus on adventure, innovation and a strong respect for matching variety with terroir. With Sauvignon Blanc the priority is to craft wines that are pure and expressive.
From a region dominated by big, bold reds, Robert discovered a vineyard ideally suited to Sauvignon Blanc. From 1996 - 2008, Hill Smith owned a 42 acre block (San Mateo Ranch vineyard) in Rutherford. The heavy clay soil present in the vineyard produces Sauvignon Blanc grapes of intensely perfumed tropical and citrus fruits with crisp acidity. Voss Vineyards is focused solely on hand-crafting excellent, regionally expressive Sauvignon Blanc.
Since 2012 we have sourced the fruit from for the Voss Sauvignon Blanc from the Morgan Lee Vineyard, which lies on the Napa Valley Floor. In line with Robert’s stance on sustainability and environmental initiatives, the vineyard has been organically farmed since 1978.
The first Voss Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc was made in 1994 and had an immediate impact on the US drinking public, many struggling to believe that it came from the Napa Valley. Robert’s hunch was also quickly vindicated by the international critics when Voss Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc was named “Best Sauvignon Blanc in the World” at the 1998 London International Wine and Spirits Competition, as well as “Best of Show” at the World Wine Championships, Chicago. The 2011 Vintage received 90 Points from Wine Spectator and Wine of Show at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Awards, amongst other accolades.
This spirit of adventure and desire to accentuate purity of fruit and freshness in the wine was further reinforced when Voss became one of the first Napa Sauvignons to embrace the screwcap closure - from the 2005 vintage. Robert Hill Smith’s experience with this closure in Australia from the 1970s (with Riesling) and New Zealand from the early 2000s (with Sauvignon Blanc) gave him the confidence to proceed.
Robert Hill Smith
The Voss Name
Robert was inspired by the main character from the novel ‘Voss’ written
by Patrick White, a Nobel Prize-winning Australian novelist. The book
starts in Sydney in 1845 and is based on the story of a German explorer
named Voss who is preparing to cross the Australian continent. The novel
is about geographical discovery, the challenges that faced explorers in
that era, and a love affair set in colonial times.