Since 1955, our family has been engaged in selling fine wines. We not only sold fine wines, but we enjoyed drinking many of the world’s fine wines.
In 1996 when my son Bill said that we had the opportunity to purchase Rutherford Hill Winery in Napa Valley, I thought, “Would it be possible for us to become wine producers at the level of the wines that we had become accustomed to selling and enjoying?” We recognized fine wines because of our exposure to them for so many years.
I started to dream about making wines that my family could be very proud of--wines similar to the wines we were proud to sell. And then I thought – why not? We understand fine wines, we have the desire, we have the knowledge, we have personal access to the best producers in the world and we now have vineyards in perhaps the most important appellation in the United States – the Napa Valley. And so with both my sons we purchased the Rutherford Hill Winery.
From the very first day when I met the Rutherford Hill Winery staff, I said to them, “Be sure that you understand that the goal of my family is to produce very important wines. I want that to happen within five years. Now, what do you need from me to make that happen?”
In 2005, Doug Fletcher and Marisa Taylor-Huffaker produced a Rutherford Hill Merlot and Chardonnay that I would be proud to taste with any wine producer in the world and say, “This was made by us.” Since 2005, the character of the Rutherford Hill wines--I can safely say--could be used as a model for varietal character and as a Francophile leaning very much in that direction. So the first wine we were responsible for using our grapes from vineyards we choose was the 2000 vintage and by 2005 we were on the way to the style that we wanted to pursue for the brand, so I can confidently say, “This is just the beginning for us.”
The dream is unfolding and I am convinced we will be able to run a string of vintages with the taste profile, style, character, and longevity that we had in mind for the marvelous Napa Valley Rutherford Hill property.
On March 10, 2010, 14 years after purchasing the winery, Rutherford Hill was declared “America’s Most Improved Winery” by wine writer Robert Wood. Click here for the full story.
Terlato Family Wineries: