“The moment that everything changed, we drove from Sonoma to Napa via the Oakville grade. When we reached the top, we stopped and looked down on a spectacular sea of vineyards. Curiously, the vineyard we bought is one that we saw that moment, and every time we drive over the grade, we think of that day. It was a life-changing investment for Judy and me,” Dennis Groth recalls. The year was 1981. The 121-acre purchase was the Oakcross Vineyard in the heart of Oakville.
Though Dennis and Judy Groth are both Bay Area natives, their backgrounds had very little to do with winemaking. Dennis got his start as a CPA at Ernst & Young, eventually moving on to become the Chief Financial Officer and later and Executive at Atari. In 1981, the Groth family purchased a 121-acre plot in Oakville. In 1982, they added a second vineyard of 44 acres located south of Yountville. These vineyards, which total 165 acres on the valley floor of Napa, are the primary source of grapes for the Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc wines produced by Groth Vineyards & Winery.
Groth Vineyards & Winery was established in 1982, and they crushed the first grapes for their own wines that same year. Production increased quickly to 30,000 cases by 1984. By 1985, the winery demanded full-time attention from Dennis and Judy, so they moved their family to the Oakville property. In 1990, the original winery building was completed, and a major expansion of facilities was completed in 2007, including a large new mission-style winery building that is lovingly referred to as “The Pink Prescence” by the locals, for its pinkish terra-cotta hue.
With everyone in the family involved in the business, Groth has established a solid reputation as an outstanding producer of Napa Valley wines. While the winery does produce some white wine varietals, they specialize in Cabernet Sauvignon and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Groth’s 1985 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is the first American wine to ever be rated with a perfect 100-point score by Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate.
To visit the winery, you can either make an appointment for a tasting, a tour, or both! Tours are given twice daily and require an advance reservation. Allow at least an hour for the tour, which includes tastings of the white wines as well as their famed Cabernet Sauvignon. As with winemaking, the actual tour starts in their vineyards with an overview of the inner workings of their medium sized winery, with visits to their tank facility and reserve barrel rooms. Visit: www.grothwines.com
WineBaskets.com proudly carries Groth Vineyards’ Cabernet Sauvignon in our Ultimate Champagne Basket, where it’s paired with a selection of fine champagnes including a few vintages of Dom Perignon Brut, Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame, Perrier-Jouet or Cristal.
Have you had a chance to visit Groth Vineyards & Winery? What did you think?