We hand sorted our grapes both prior to and after de-stemming, and following a four day whole berry maceration and cold
soak, we began primary fermentation. After nearly three weeks, the wine was gently pressed-off and racked to 100% new
Darnajou and Ermitage 36 month-aged tight grain French Oak barrels to complete a slow secondary fermentation for another
The Pellet Vineyard’s origin begins in 1863 with the purchase of 45 acres of
land in the Southwest corner of St. Helena that was filled with Manzanita
brush Pellet cleared and planted to 38 acres of vines. During the 1870’s,
Pellet expanded to a wine cellar under the name of Pellet & Carver, with an
on-site capacity of 80,000 gallons that was partially underground.
Throughout the following decades, the vineyard continued to produce
quality crops over various ownership changes, and after our purchase in
2005, we replanted the vineyard with improved row spacing and better vine
orientation to the sun’s path over the valley. Today the vineyard produces
about equal amounts of Clone 4 and Clone 337 Cabernet Sauvignon, and
small amounts of Merlot and Petit Verdot. Our soil is bale gravelly/rocky
loam, on an alluvial fan at the base of the western foothills, planted in 7-
foot rows with 4-foot vine spacing, using modified vertical shoot trellising.
Our vineyard, and the surrounding ones that comprise the St. Helena AVA
are known as the “birthplace” of Napa Valley Cabernet – the heart of Napa
Valley. This is the 2nd oldest commercially producing vineyard in Napa
Valley – extremely historic.
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Tom Rinaldi – Winemaker
Raised in San Francisco, Tom made frequent trips to Napa on his motorcycle,
buying wines directly from the wineries of the day. After four years in the Navy,
Tom enrolled at UC Davis along with notable classmates Mike Martini, Tim
Mondavi, Randy Dunn, and Bob Levy.
Tom’s career began at Freemark Abbey, an experience he calls “a great job, and a
great honor.” In 1978, Tom became the founding winemaker at Duckhorn
Vineyards. After 22 vintages of creating some of Napa’s most celebrated wines, in
2000 Tom helped launch Provenance Vineyards and Hewitt Vineyard from the
ground up. Tom’s recent 2010 Hewitt Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was named to
the Wine Spectator’s Top 10 in the world for 2013, and the #1 Wine in California.
Always the avid learner, Tom loves everything from anticipating the vineyards’
seasons to experimenting with new methodologies and technologies, always open to
innovative practices alongside traditional methods. Tom resides with his wife and
daughter in St. Helena, where you will either find him in the vineyard, the cellar, or
riding his bike throughout the Napa Valley. Tom has been with us since 2013, and
he continues to elevate the quality and vision of Pellet Estate wines.