It was never clear how this adventure was going to turn out. In the late 60’s when my family started to grow wine grapes in Napa Valley, there was no one to show them the way. There was plenty of advice, to be sure, but in truth no one had started a successful Napa vineyard since Prohibition. They were, in a word, crazy.
Their lunacy was infectious, however, and a few other enterprising souls joined the gambit: Tony Baldini, our first viticulturist; David Whitehouse, our first ‘real’ winemaker; Richard DeGarmo, Mr. fix-it; Mary Ware, queen of the office and everyone’s schedule. I grew up with them and consider them all family. A shared passion brought them to us, and my parents received them with open arms. They settled into their respective posts, not as hired hands, but as equals in a shared endeavor.
As I settle into my own role in the family business, I find this remarkable dynamic preserved and count myself blessed to spend my days working with old and new friends that quickly feel like family.
The land focuses our energies, as it always has, challenging us to understand its soils, the vines that grow in them, and the way fog drifts through the rows in the morning. It is an eternal learning process – each question answered reveals another be asked – but it’s a journey we love to take with each and every vintage. It also defines us and the wines we make, providing the vital essence of every bottle that bears our name. Decisions made in the vineyard and cellar not only guide the expression of the land, but affect the very soul of the wine. For this reason, we have always committed ourselves to estate production, adamant that we should be the ones growing the grapes and turning them into wine. Our passion requires it.