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It all started with Frank & Toni....

In 1983 Frank and his wife Toni fell in love with the Napa valley. They bought a cute house on a small parcel from Doc Williams who was retiring and moving to the city. The small ranch came with a tractor, a thousand “pinot chardonnay” vines and a pair of Felco pruning shears. The Doc graciously showed Frank the ropes of vineyard management. That first year, John Thatcher from Cuvaison bought the eight tons of fruit, and an agriculture career was born…

At the beginning of 2005 the romantic comedy “Sideways” was released in the United States and quickly changed the perception of Merlot in the market place. As a result, the Merlot prices fell, and the former hottest grape went from $2,700.00 a ton to $1,100.00 a ton, that is if you could find anyone to buy it.

Luckily, Mark Mondavi purchased the 2005 Merlot that made up about 30% of the fruit grown by Frank, but the 2006 harvest was another story. After two decades of learning how to grow quality fruit, the 2006 Merlot was not sold and was on the verge of being left to hang on the vine. Fortunately, their viticulturalist at the time caught wind of this notion and wrote a note to the office that said “Tell Frank that the Merlot fruit is too good to let hang…crush it!”, and a winery career was born...


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