The answer to the ensuing discussion is that Stag’s Leap is all three. Each is named for the Stag’s Leap Pallisades; a craggy hilltop formation that is imagined to represent a leaping stag (go figure). While each the winery, the wine cellar, and the AVA are entities unto their own, the biggest difference is in how the apostrophe is used:
Before more wineries emerged with names like Leaping Stags or Stag Leaps, California wine law decided that no winery could name itself after a geographical landmark. Since both the Wine Cellars and the Winery existed before this law came into effect, they are allowed to keep their names. Nevertheless, a leap down Silverado trail will bring you to a collection of other amazing wineries.
Robert Sinskey (www.robetsinskey.com) – Although most of the wines are sourced form 100+ acres in the Los Carneros AVA (closest to San Pablo Bay), 100% biodynamic viticulture is the calling card to Robert Sinkey’s wines. With most vineyards close to the water, Robert Sinskey has a unique white wine programme that focuses on aromatics more commonly seen in Alsace or the Okanagan. For pure Stags Leap expression, however, the SLD Cabernet Sauvignon (a clever way to get around not using "Stags Leap") is sourced from the 4-acre plot you see around you (with a ½ acre splash of Merlot). Their biodynamic garden also yields for an excellent tour followed by a food-and-wine pairing session.
Clos du Val (www.closduval.com) – At the very southern edge of the AVA, Clos du Val has a large portfolio of grapes sourced from throughout the Napa Valley (and a touch of Carneros). At each level, the Carneros-based Chardonnay and Pinot Noir show very well for their price point, and, like elsewhere in the AVA, their Cabernet programme is not to be missed. At it's pinnacle, the SLD label is capable of long-term aging, but a 1992 Reserve Cabernet tasted back home shows that even the "second-label" is worth the wait.
The above make up about one-third of the wineries in the small stretch that is the Stags Leap AVA. With concentrated fruit in a concentrated area, it is quite easy to hop, sip, and leap your way through Stags Leap AVA.