THE LEGACY Napa Valley growers—Hopper, Whitton, Hahn, Taddei—have farmed Vine Hill Ranch since 1884, documenting their annual plantings of grapevines, plums, pears and other crops in hand-scribed reports.
Following the footsteps of those pioneering families, our maternal grandfather, Bruce Kelham, purchased the land in 1959. He was a dedicated preservationist who moved to Napa to cultivate winegrapes after playing a role in establishing the Point Reyes National Seashore.
The old grower records inspired our wine label's ledger-style listing of vineyard blocks, vine count, harvest dates and grape yields—a tribute to the agricultural history of Vine Hill Ranch.
Our appreciation for the exquisite Cabernet Sauvignon grown here and the rich agricultural history of Vine Hill Ranch moved our family to create our own true wine of place. We would like to acknowledge those who supported us during this evolution from grapegrowing to winemaking.
First of all, we are indebted to Michael Wolf, our trusted vineyard manager, whose unprecedented knowledge and care of our vineyard over the past fourteen years ensures the ongoing health of Vine Hill Ranch soil and expressive fruit.
To our soft spoken and elegant winemaker, Françoise Peschon, who believes winemaking begins in the earth and continues every day of the year—thank you, Françoise, for capturing in VHR all we revere about this vineyard.
Many thanks to the delightful Nancy Duckhorn, for her wisdom and grace-under-pressure guidance. Olaf Beckmann, your exquisite photographs of our seven vineyard blocks capture the quiet beauty of Vine Hill Ranch. Designer Madeleine Corson and her talented studio team, brought to life the grace and history of Vine Hill Ranch and the VHR vision.
Each of you is a part of the VHR dream. We thank you.
Finally, we want to acknowledge our families who have contributed much time and passion to this project. May each vintage of VHR Cabernet Sauvignon bring to mind all that we cherish about Vine Hill Ranch.
THE PHILLIPS FAMILY
The Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) has announced that the Phillips family, longtime winegrape growers in Oakville, has been selected as the 2011 recipient of the prestigious Napa Valley Grower of the Year award. This is the first time that a family, rather than an individual, has been chosen for this distinction.
Bob Phillips was an early president (1984-86) of the NVG and one of the true pioneers of the organization. He participated in a significant way in many foundational industry successes, from the definition of the Napa Valley’s appellated structure to the protections afforded Napa County’s rich agricultural resources. His wife, Alex, served on the board of the Napa County Farm Bureau, and was instrumental in the founding years and beyond at the di Rosa Preserve. Bruce Phillips, their son, recently completed a two-year term as President of the NVG, during which time he led the NVG in the areas of strategic development, marketing and industry partnerships, which will carry the organization far into the future. Bruce’s wife, Heather, is a Napa County Planning Commissioner and chaired the very successful 2009 NVG Harvest STOMP event.
“The Phillips family has quietly represented the best of what we as growers
hope to be. Their love of the land and dedication to the industry and community
is an inspiration to all of us.” —NVG PRESIDENT DAVID BECKSTOFFER
Each year, the Past Presidents of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers meet to decide Grower of the Year. They deliberate over nominations submitted by the NVG membership based on: a strong commitment to sustainable practices; recognized leadership in agricultural preservation; dedicated community focus, contributions to the Napa Valley community; and someone who actively promotes Napa’s reputation for the highest quality vineyards.
With over 550 members, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers has played a vital role in strengthening Napa Valley’s reputation as a world-class winegrowing region for over 36 years. Its mission is to promote and preserve Napa Valley’s world-class vineyards.
In 1978, our father and mother, Bob and Alex Phillips, moved from San Francisco to the Napa Valley to raise our family on the ranch that our grandfather, Bruce Kelham, had purchased some twenty years earlier and christened Vine Hill Ranch.
Over time, Bob and Alex cultivated the land into a vineyard of great renown and began providing winegrapes to a handful of notable Napa Valley Cabernet producers. Quietly genial and respected for his integrity, Bob developed long-lasting partnerships with the Vine Hill Ranch Vineyard vintner partners, most of whom became lifelong friends. When they weren’t walking the vineyard, Bob and Alex dedicated themselves to agricultural land preservation efforts and local community causes.
In grapegrowing, as in life, our parents always took the long view, with an emphasis on balance, patience and restraint.
Today, each vintage we harvest, bottle, pour and raise to the light, reflects Bob and Alex’s love for this “coin vert” of Oakville. We feel profoundly blessed for their teaching us the value of listening, learning and caring deeply for land, community and family—and for cultivating in each of us the heart of a grapegrower.
“After all, it is the land that has given us so much.”
Robert (Bob) Phillips
Alexandra (Alex) Phillips