V Madrone History
Before settlers moved into the Napa Valley in the 1830’s and 1840’s, the area surrounding the V Madrone winery and vineyard was home to the Wappo tribe. In 1883 August and Frederika Hersch acquired the property and built a Victorian house and winery at the location of V Madrone. A front-page travelogue written by the editor of the St. Helena Star in 1887, described the Hersches’ “Fine Country Life” in the late 19th century.
Contemporaries of Charles Krug, and other German immigrants of the era, the Hersches produced up to 20,000 gallons of wine yearly at what was then called the August Hersch Winery. Claret was produced and large quantities were shipped to New York customers. In 1894 August Hersch passed prematurely and shortly thereafter the winery and its cooperage were sold and several owners later the winery was lost to history in the years following Prohibition.
In the early 20th Century the property was transformed into a popular lodge and restaurant which became widely known in the 1930’s and 1940’s as “The Madrones” named after the then numerous twisted red bark Madrone trees located in the area. Following their ownership, the property was owned by several families until Chris and Pauline Tilley acquired it in 2001. The Tilley’s planted the 3.5-acre estate Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard in 2002, following extensive review of soil type, neighboring vineyard analysis, climate, water source and runoff and other “terroir” factors. In 2004, thanks to the diligence of renowned local historical researcher, John Kelly, the lost legacy of August Hersch was rediscovered and the Tilley’s learned that the property was eligible to become a winery again. In 2007 V Madrone Cellars was declared a Napa County Historical Landmark, and on December 6, 2008, on the 75th anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition V Madrone was opened for business.
The name “V Madrone” combines the legacy of the 19th century vineyard and the 20th century lodge.