Rocca Family Vineyard is owned by husband and wife team Eric Grigsby and Mary Fran Rocca. After a three year search, they purchased their first vineyard in Yountville in 1999. The Grigsby Vineyard is a 21-acre parcel near the corner of Silverado Trail and Yountville Crossroad, on the benchland of the Vaca Mountains, the range that defines the eastern boundary of the Napa Valley. The vineyard was planted in 1991, mainly to Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, with an acre of Merlot, and a quarter acre of Petite Syrah.
The land gently slopes westward towards the Napa River. The soils are a well-drained melange of alluvial, sedimentary and volcanic soils. Just to the north, a knoll that was formed as a terminal moraine in Napa Valley’s ancient glacial past towers above the vineyard. The vineyard is poised between the warmer upvalley climes and the cooling maritime influence of the San Francisco Bay to the south, so temperatures during the long growing season are warm enough to produce perfectly ripe and flavorful fruit, and cool enough to ensure finesse and balance.
The second vineyard, purchased in 2000, is a nine-acre parcel in the Coombsville area of Napa. The property is a southeast-facing hillside with shallow, rocky and well-drained soil. The climate here is cooler than the Grigsby Vineyard, but with its sun-drenched hillside exposure the site is well-suited to growing Bordeaux varieties. The vineyard was planted in Spring of 2002 to Cabernet Sauvignon, with an acre each of Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot.
Vintners Mary Rocca and Eric Grigsby are crafting some of the most elegant, complex and intensely-flavored Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah in the Napa Valley today. Rocca’s wines have consistently finished ahead of more established and expensive Napa Valley wines in high-profile tastings, and they are poised to enter the ranks of Napa’s most coveted cult names.
The true heart and soul of Rocca Family Vineyards lies in Mary Rocca and Eric Grigsby’s passion for land, community and family. They are a dynamic couple who have applied their business experience towards the pursuit of excellence in winemaking. Before becoming a vintner in 1999, Mary ran her own dental practice, while Eric is a Pain Management Specialist based in Napa. Mary is also the proprietor of the Palace Market, a small grocery store in Point Reyes, and together with Eric, runs the HealthRoots Foundation, which provides palliative end-of-life care to people with AIDS in Malawi.
Under the guidance of Vineyard Manager Sergio Melgoza, Rocca’s farming practices are holistic, guided by the closely-connected twin goals of farming organically and sustainably to bring the vines into long-term natural balance with their environment.
Winemaker Paul Colantuoni believes that 90% percent of winemaking is done in the vineyards, and strives to express the beautiful fruit from Rocca’s estate vineyard holdings in Yountville and Coombsville. He uses long, slow fermentations, frequent punchdowns, gentle pressing and extended barrel aging. The wines are bottled without fining or filtration to express all the rich varietal character of the fruit. Rocca produces a Cabernet Sauvignon ($75) and Syrah ($45), as well as Bad Boy Red ($32), a blend of Bordeaux varietals.
Visiting Rocca Family Vineyards: Rocca Family Vineyards recently moved their office and tasting salon to a Victorian home located just off Highway 29, where they are in the process of building a winemaking facility. While Rocca’s tasting room is not yet open to the public, visitors may call (707) 257-8467 to learn more about Rocca Family Vineyards.
HealthRoots Foundation: Mary and Eric started the HealthRoots Foundation in 1997 to provide health education and palliative care in under-served areas of the United States and abroad, most recently in Malawi.