Larkmead is one of the oldest, family-owned grape-growing estates in the Napa Valley. Originally established in 1895, the estate is now under the stewardship of proprietors Cam Baker and Kate Solari Baker.
This historic site offers tremendous diversity in its soils. Due to centuries of alluvial flow with a concentration of over 300 feet of well-drained, ancient riverbed gravel, the vineyard possesses a rare character usually found at unique hillside sites. Winemaker Dan Petroski captures nuance and complexity by vinifying small lots according to clonal selection and soil type.
Our 150 acre vineyard estate is under the masterful care of Vineyard Manager Nabor Camerena and Viticulturist Kelly Maher.
“Kate and I wanted to recapture the historic place Larkmead Vineyards has held in the Napa Valley and to make wines for a new generation that truly reflects the stature, personality, and history of this world class site.”
- Cam Baker, Proprietor
1992 - Present
Cam Baker and Kate Solari Baker have been the dynamic force behind Larkmead’s transformation from a historic vineyard site into a world renowned wine estate. The first 10 years of their ownership involved a complete replanting of the 150 acre vineyard, encompassing new varieties more appropriate to the soil, and clones and rootstock which speak to each individual block’s special needs.
In 2006, they built a state of the art winery on the property. Designed by architect Howard Backen, an old family friend, the farmhouse and production facility expresses a modest and modern attitude in a very complex and competitive world of 21st century Napa Valley.
1948 - 1992
Larry Solari was a terrific storyteller. He spoke of the early days as a wine salesman trying to convince people across the USA that wine was a great beverage to accompany one’s meals.
Larry was born in Tuscany, Italy, and immigrated to the US at the age of nine, traveling across the US by train to Geyserville in Sonoma County in 1920. He was told as a child that here he could be whatever he wished to be - with the exception of becoming the President of the United States - great words for a person new to our country. In 1933, he was the first in his family to earn a college degree, graduating from UC Berkeley at the height of the Great Depression. He then married Polly Kavanaugh, a third generation Californian, born in Napa.
1895 - 1942
The Salmina family arrived in the Napa Valley from Switzerland in the 1860s. Felix Salmina had learned to make wine in Switzerland and set about converting the old wooden winery on Larkmead Lane into a grand business. The Salmina family leased the Larkmead winery in 1895 and eventually purchased it in 1903. By 1906, their plans for expansion were complete and the new Larkmead winery stood strong; built of stone quarried from the nearby hills.
1873 - 1895
In 1851, Charles Hitchcock, an army surgeon, moved from North Carolina to San Francisco with his wife, Martha, and their spirited daughter, Lillie. Lillie immediately took to the city full of “all fire and action”. This was a prophetic description because she was later dramatically rescued from a fire by one of the volunteers from Knickerbocker No. 5 Fire Company. Through this experience she became a lifelong and passionate supporter of the San Francisco fire department and even paid homage to her heroes by signing her name with the number ‘5’ after it for the rest of her life. She was the only woman in America to be a member of a fire company, hence her nickname ‘Firebelle Lil’. Later, in recognition of her unwavering enthusiasm and support of the fire stations, Lillie was named the patroness of all San Francisco firemen.