Filling a Niche Lost in Time
As their vintner and wine collector clients glide along the iconic sycamore tree-lined driveway flanked by one of Napa Valley’s most historic vine- yards, the Georges de Latour estate, they embark upon the Rutherford Wine Vault, a unique, and time-forgotten cellar – a private sanctuary where they store their most treasured library wines.
The Rutherford Wine Vault was originally built in 1915 and operated as the BV Champagne Department for over 75 years. Founders Mario Sculatti and John Franks discovered the 7,500 square foot building while investigating another investment opportunity. When they leased the premises in 2017, the interior of the cellar had been left as it was when it was vacated in 1991. The initial renovation involved some deep cleaning and interior customization which uncovered some treasures of time, including an original rolling riddling table, a chalkboard jotted with last riddling schedule, and 40 bottles of the last 1991 vintage of BV Sparkling Blanc de Blanc made in the building.
Its original design as a Champagne production facility provided the foundation to offer a temperature controlled and secure environment that would eventually deliver a unique wine storage concept for vintners and wine collectors alike. As vintners themselves, Mario and John saw the potential to create something a little more special. Unlike public storage fa-cilities, RWV is grandfathered as a private wine storage warehouse within the Napa County Agricultural Preserve, perhaps the only one of its kind. This enabled them to curate a pied-à-terre model that would offer their clients the anonymity to enjoy a private sanctum to store and cellar their collectible library wines among fellow wine lovers and vintners. Mario says, “From the beginning we wanted RWV to be like Switzerland–neutral ground that offers a safe place to deposit and age vinous treasures. We want to have a place where we store the greatest bottles wines in the world with some of the most wonderful people in the world.”
RWV opened in early 2018 offering private lockable wine vaults ranging in size from 12 cases to 250 case walk-in vaults, offering library pallet storage to clients who commit to any size vault. The initial rollout was met with great success. With the help of business development maven Erin Ratliff, the first phase is nearly sold out after less than one year.
The Rutherford Wine Vault was created to be something more than wine storage. Considered one of Napa Valley’s hidden treasures, this special place is a one-of-a-kind, private wine storage solution that comes with a rich history. Until now it’s been a well-kept secret, but for those who want in, there are a few private vaults remaining- and they are booking reservations for Phase Two.
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Rutherford Wine Vault
Article & Photos By: Laura Larson