Rutherford, CA – Sullivan Rutherford Estate commemorated the winery’s 50th anniversary on May 21, with a celebratory event held at the 26-acre property located in the geographical and historical heart of the Napa Valley. The Sullivan team—led by General Manager Joshua Lowell and Managing Partner Juan-Pablo Torres Padilla, unveiled its latest undertaking in an ambitious mission to build a true Napa Valley Merlot-based “first growth” by announcing the launch of PA Vinea, an extended identity that represents the culmination of vision and innovation of pioneers that have shaped Rutherford’s history over the past two centuries. During the event, Lowell and Winemaker Jeff Cole also announced plans to break ground on a new winery and hospitality facility this fall, designed by renowned architect Hans Baldauf of BCV Architecture + Interiors. Upon completion in 2024, the Estate’s name will transition to PA Vinea. The flagship J.O. Sullivan Founder’s Reserve Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon bottlings will continue to represent the core wines produced at the property, connecting the vision for the present and the future, to the history of the estate.
“Our enduring purpose is to develop a team and an environment that will enable meaningful long-lasting relationships, and the enjoyment of life in a balanced and honest way. We inspire ourselves and others by celebrating excellence, creating exceptional wines and authentic experiences, and sharing our passion for genuine service and generous hospitality,” said Torres Padilla in front of an intimate group of guests, which included many of the Napa Valley’s most respected wine growers and producers.
“The vision of our endeavor is larger than one person, place, or time. We firmly believe that no one can build a great wine or iconic estate in one generation,” added General Manager Joshua Lowell. “Today, we honor the last 50 years in Sullivan’s history, but we also need to recognize a larger legacy, including its continuance with us as its bearers.”
Since acquiring the Sullivan property in 2018, the team has taken a holistic approach to build upon the foundation of the Rutherford-based Estate. With the guidance of Vineyard Manager Mike Wolf, in early 2019 they purchased a 12-acre parcel of land in the Soda Canyon area, located in the eastern foothills of the Napa Valley between the Stags Leap District and Coombsville. This land was planted the following year with an emphasis on Merlot and Cabernet Franc. In September 2021, the team also acquired the renowned Criscione Vineyard located in St. Helena at the base of Howell Mountain, which has a history of producing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon. The Criscione property is 18 acres with roughly half under vine.
The name PA Vinea is derived from the Latin translation of Golden Ratio, Proportion Aurea, a harmonious arrangement rooted in nature, explained by mathematics and applied to both art and science and the translation for “vineyard.” “Over the centuries, the Golden Ratio has been explained by a variety of definitions but is often described as the most pleasing visual aesthetic to the human eye,” says Torres Padilla. “We chose to name it using Latin to convey a meaningful message of depth and substance through the 2000+ years of Greek-Roman tradition. PA Vinea embodies the principles that guide the team’s work, including balance, intention, precision, excellence, timelessness and beauty,” he says.
The PA Vinea Family Reserve is a Merlot-dominant blend and the first vintage, 2019, will be released in the fall of 2023. The wine will be produced in limited quantities for members, friends and extended family from the best of the winery’s three estate vineyards.
“In our multi-year search for a wine property, the Napa Valley was the perfect marriage between the tradition and excellence of the Old World, with the ambitious and adventurous culture of the United States of America —and specifically California—which is what brought me here,” says Torres Padilla. “We are honored to continue the story of this estate, building upon the vision of founder James O’Neil Sullivan. Like wine, the Golden Ratio is both real and abstract, intrinsically recognizing and reconciling the enriching dichotomies of art and science, nature and human invention, tradition and modernity, Old World and New World.”
The 50th-anniversary celebration and announcement of PA Vinea was a major milestone for Managing Partner Juan-Pablo Torres Padilla, General Manager Joshua Lowell, Estate Director Lisa Barker, Winemaker Jeff Cole and Vineyard Manager Mike Wolf, who endeavor to further elevate a five-decade foundation of hard work, vision and pioneering spirit by creating unique experiences that allow people to connect through shared passions.
About Sullivan Rutherford Estate
Situated in the heart of Napa Valley, Sullivan Rutherford Estate has been Rutherford’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot hideaway for five decades. Founded in 1972, during the apex of the boutique winery movement, by James O’Neil Sullivan, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vines were first planted on the 26-acre estate in 1978, per the encouragement of Rutherford’s legendary winemaker, André Tchelistcheff. In 2018 Juan-Pablo Torres Padilla led a family partnership to purchase Sullivan Rutherford Estate, and quietly assembled a world-class team of exceptional individuals in the wine industry, including General Manager Joshua Lowell, Estate Director Lisa Barker and Vineyard Manager Mike Wolf. Winemaker Jeff Cole, who had joined Sullivan in 2013, is dedicated to crafting world-class wines that reflect a traditional style and a mastery of today’s finest winemaking techniques. Sullivan produces a J.O. Sullivan Founder’s Reserve tier offering, produced from the top percentage of vineyard blocks on the estate. This includes the J.O. Sullivan Founder’s Reserve Merlot ($280) and the J.O. Sullivan Founder’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($280). Additional offerings include an Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($130), Coeur de Vigne ($120), Merlot ($85), Estate Chardonnay ($65) and Rosé ($45). Located at 1090 Galleron Road, Sullivan Rutherford Estate is open for visits daily by appointment. Reservations or requests for private appointments can be made by calling the winery at (707) 963-9646, emailing [email protected], or on Tock.