Far Niente, one of the earliest stone wineries, derives its name from the Italian phrase "Dolce Far Niente" (how sweet it is to do nothing). It was founded in 1885 and flourished until prohibition. Abandoned for over 60 years, the winery was purchased in 1979 by Gil Nickel. He started the long process of restoring it. Far Niente's quest to produce outstanding wines of distinctive character has led them to a philosophy that requires vineyard ownership. Today, they own 200 acres (3 different vineyard sites) of what many regard as some of the finest vineyard land in the Napa Valley.
Dolce's 20 acres of vineyard are located in Coombsville, east of the city of Napa, and are situated at the base of the Vaca Mountains, which define the eastern border of the valley. The volcanic soil is loose and well drained, and the west-facing vineyard is protected from the prevailing winds so that the damp, morning fog of autumn (a very important factor in the development of Botrytis cinerea) hangs longer amongst the vines, often until midday. A combination of high humidity followed by drying conditions encourages, but does not guarantee, the growth of Botrytis. As it develops, its coverage is seemingly random with individual berries succumbing to Botrytis at different rates, if at all.
The Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes were carefully selected and then vinified in the traditional manner. The wine then spent 31 months in 100% new French oak, adding a delicious complexity to the final wine.