Story By: Elizabeth Smith
Hand Crafted, Organically Farmed, Family Owned
On Devlin Road, just south of the city of Napa, lies one of the area’s hidden gems, the Rocca House by Rocca Family Vineyards. Mary Rocca purchased the restored Victorian home in 2009, which dates from 1864. It is possibly Napa Valley’s oldest residence not on the historical registry, tucked away from the hustle and bustle, a tranquil oasis near Suscol Creek. With clear-day views of the Napa River and Mayacamas Mountains in the distance, it’s an enduring testament to days past.
Further north, Mary Rocca and her husband, Dr. Eric Grigsby, own two estate vineyards, the 21-acre Grigsby Vineyard in Yountville and 11-acre Collinetta Vineyard in Coombsville. Both are certified organic and hold Napa Green and Fish Friendly Farming certifications. The Rocca-Grigsby family acquired Grigsby in 1999 and Collinetta – a former walnut tree farm and horse pasture – in 2000. Since the beginning, vineyard manager Sergio Melgoza has been with Rocca, rehabilitating Grigsby and planting Collinetta. He knows both vineyards so well that they have become what the Rocca team calls an “extension of Sergio.” Grigsby is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc, and Collinetta to Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
Before harvest 2021, Rocca hired Australian-born winemaker Tom Sherwood to collaborate with Melgoza and his longtime crew – Arcelia, Fredy, Francisco, Margarita, Ernesto, Jaime, Maria Elena, Christian, and Juan Carlos – to create an ideal combination of viticulture and winemaking talent who are taking a laser-focused approach to produce organically farmed, elegant and balanced wines that express what Sherwood calls “the true character of each vineyard’s specific personality.”
The resulting wines of the small but mighty Rocca team make their way to the restored salon of the Rocca House, where guests relax comfortably and enjoy an intimate opportunity to listen to Rocca’s story and actively engage with their wine host. They have the choice of two experiences – one that includes four current releases or four estate red wines and a library vintage – both paired with artisan cheeses. Rocca’s wine tasting presentation focuses on their two single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons from Grigsby and Collinetta, their estate red wine, Vespera – a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot – and Chardonnay from the Ulysses Valdez (UV) Vineyard of Sonoma Coast.
The experience is memorable because Rocca only hosts appointments one at a time, where guests receive dedicated time and attention. Rocca’s General Manager, Angelique Ball, said, “Our goal at Rocca Family Vineyards is to give our guests a new perspective on wine appreciation and focus on what makes the wines of our estate vineyards and Napa Valley so special. It’s all about the time and place and the people.”
The future of Rocca Family Vineyards will also include launching a new estate-grown white wine, but they do not plan to increase production quantities. Instead, they will continue their 22-yearlong focus on growing and making an all-estate portfolio of the highest quality, from vineyard to bottle. Rocca sells its limited production wines exclusively direct to their customers through their allocation membership. Added Ball, “We love to connect with people who not only admire our wines but also value our dedicated organic farming and winemaking philosophy.”
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