Wine - Cabernet Sauvignon - Tonella
S.R. Tonella Cellars was founded by Napa Valley native Steve Tonella and his wife Ariadna with a focus entirely on wines from Rutherford. Steve is fourth generation Napan – with his father, grandfather and great uncle all involved in the wine industry in some way – from growing grapes to making wine.
Steve has built his wine label literally from the ground up. He manages a just under one-acre vineyard in the heart of the Rutherford sub appellation on land owned by his family. He grew up in Rutherford remembering when there were fewer vineyards planted here than there are today – pointing out where an old baseball field used to be and other land that wasn’t originally planted to vines.His vines are planted to two Bordeaux clones of Cabernet Sauvignon. He chose these particular clones for a number of reasons including a high skin to juice ratio (small berries), clones that make a balanced wine and for fruit that generally produces well rounded tannins. Each vine in the vineyard was trained with a wooden stake – the vines are not trellised but rather are head pruned. This is a nod to an older way of growing grapes and his family’s heritage in the valley.
Steve remembers at age six first helping out in his family’s vineyards – suckering and general canopy management. The soils here are gravelly loam and are well drained. Everything is very much done by hand in the vineyard – with nearly all of the work is still done by Steve. Due to the small size of the vineyard Steve only sources two tons or less each year.