Girard Winery - A story of Napa Valley
Thirty years after first planting its vineyards, Girard continues to produce wines reflecting the quality that has made Napa Valley the most famous New World wine-growing region in the world. Napa Valley's rise to fame was punctuated by a renaissance that began at the same time Girard was setting down its own roots.
The valley's benchmark year occurred in 1976, when a panel of French judges blind-tasted their own wines against a few upstarts from Napa. Much to everyone's surprise, the California wines won first place in both the white and red wine categories. Despite French howls of protest, the now famous Paris Tasting firmly established California on an equal footing with its Old World counterparts.
Today, Girard is experiencing a similar rebirth of sorts. Longtime California vintner Pat Roney purchased the winery shortly after the new millennium. Roney's career in wine began as a sommelier at Chicago's renowned Pump Room, where he worked during and after college. Later he returned to his native California and eventually he took up the reins of two wineries: first as president of Chateau St. Jean, and later as president of Kunde, both in Sonoma Valley. Ultimately Roney took his management skills and wine knowledge to the specialty food purveyor Dean & DeLuca, where he helped grow the business from a small presence in New York and Washington to a national enterprise.
At Girard, Roney continues the tradition of making Chardonnay and Cabernet-based wines. But he is also expanding Girard's varietal focus to Zinfandel and Petite Sirah grown on century-old vines that dot the Napa countryside. New vineyard plantings are also underway on both Diamond and Howell Mountains, which border the western and eastern edges of the valley.
As it has been in the past, Girard's goal is to highlight the flavors of Napa Valley and its rich, ripe grapes. A small portion of the winery's portfolio also comes from grapes grown in Sonoma's upscale Russian River Valley, where cool weather offers ideal conditions for Chardonnay.
With the right grapes from the right locations, Girard offers a lineup that features both power and finesse--key words in California wine.