does it look to one who saw it years ago as though the finger of enchantment
has been pointed at its frowning, rocky surface, and changed it into a thing
of beauty and joy forever."
Newspaper Description of the first Vine Cliff, circa late 1880’s
Vine Cliff Winery is a new name in contemporary winemaking, but the label carries with it the legacy of California’s winemaking history, the excitement of the wine boom of the 1800’s and the melding of the agricultural, business and social worlds of that era. Originally a land grant, the property was one of the largest wineries in the Napa Valley at the turn of the century, and a fashionable destination for the San Francisco society set. Its heyday did not last long however, as phylloxera ravaged the vineyards, and the winery buildings fell into ruin shortly thereafter. This historic property was a part of the original George C. Yount estate and site of a winery established in 1871, Vine Cliff.
Chuck and Nell Sweeney, along with their son Rob, are tireless hosts with an appetite for hard work, long hours, good food and great wine. Their love of fine wines turned them into zealous collectors, and they became familiar and generous faces at the Napa Valley Wine Auction.
In 1985, the Sweeneys’ hobby turned serious when they bought a rugged, 100-acre parcel in the eastern Napa Valley along the Silverado Trail.
The original winery tunnels and masonry foundation were all that remained when Rob Sweeney took on the job of vineyard manager.
From the early days when his parents first acquired the ranch, Rob spent long hours on horseback on the Vine Cliff hillsides, gaining an intimacy with the terrain that has now been terraced and planted with Cabernet Sauvignon.
While the new Vine Cliff Winery is state of the art, the Sweeneys are excavating new cave for barrel aging, thereby firmly linking the past to the present. Nell actively maintains the winery grounds, inspired to create a place where family and friends can gather to enjoy one another’s company and the incredible beauty of this historic hillside, bringing the Vine Cliff estate full circle.
Vine Cliff Cellars / 7400 Silverado Trail / Napa, California 94558 / 707-944-1364
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