The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2013

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Page 116 of 152

TERROIRS Bill, Tony and John Terlato. A Diamond in the Scruff TERLATO FAMILY VINEYARDS FINDS AN IDEAL ESTATE IN THE WILDS OF NAPA by Jonathan Cristaldi / photos by Robert Holmes B ehind the Rutherford Hill Winery, high up the north-south–running Vaca Mountains, a long winding path, not really suitable for driving, eventually opens up on a clearing. Precise rows of Cabernet Sauvignon vines are planted in rocky soils on southwest-facing slopes overlooking Napa Valley, clusters of fruit dangle in the late summer sun and the air is filled with the sweet leafy-green smell that comes from the surrounding dense clusters of scrub and brush. The edges of the vineyard offer a glimpse of the kind of dense, untamed scruffy woods that needed clearing—a gardener's worst nightmare. It was here upon the mountaintop that, in 2003, the Terlato family first realized the potential for an estate vineyard. Was it fate or a fateful prophecy that lead the Terlatos from the distribution business to the importing and, eventually, the winemaking side of the industry? Years before, Robert Mondavi had seen it coming and said to Tony Terlato, "Someday, you'll be a winemaker." It was a dream that became reality in 1996 when the Terlatos purchased Rutherford Hill Winery. After a costly set of upgrades and expansion to the property, the hunt was on for an exceptional vineyard site. 116  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2013 TP1113_109-156.indd 116 10/24/13 9:16 AM

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