Many Latino owned wineries these days are getting plenty of press. Generations of hard work, good business practices, and excellent wine have brought Latino wineries like Ceja, Robledo, Renteria and others into the limelight. But few have heard of Madrigal Vineyards. We visited there a couple of weeks ago and we found the Madrigal wines to be excellent and wondered why this winery has remained “under the radar.”
We were driving north on Highway 29 nearing Calistoga and by chance spotted a sign for Madrigal Vineyards just about opposite the entrance to Bothe-Napa State Park. We tasted the Madrigal Zinfandel about two years ago at the Napa Valley Wine Company in Oakville. That’s where they made their wines until opening this facility in 2007. The Zinfandel was very good so we thought, let’s try more of their wines. Fortunately for us, owner Chris Madrigal was in the tasting room and we had a chance to chat with him and learn about his family’s history and the development of Madrigal Vineyards.
Chris’s grandfather arrived in the Napa Valley in 1933 traveling from Mexico seeking work has a farm hand. But it was Chris’s father, Jesus Madrigal, one of 12 siblings who was the entrepreneur. He learned the business of farming vineyards and then established his own vineyard management company. Slowly his business grew into one of Napa Valley’s premier vineyard management companies. Chris and his father had always had a dream about owning a winery and making wines under the family name. The first vintage was in 1993. Last year the winery completed the construction of its three-million-dollar winery with the opening of its tasting room.
Today, production at Madrigal Vineyards is at about 5000 cases and will remain at that level. Madrigal makes about ten different wines, all in small lots. The grapes come from their estate vineyards just outside the winery and some are sourced from vineyards that they manage. Chris states that they have secured grapes from some of Napa’s finest vineyards. We tasted six wines and they were all delicious. The reds were complex but smooth and definitely not overpowering. These are really good food wines.
The tasting fee is $20 and the winery is open daily by appointment from 10 am to 4 pm, Monday to Saturday. As in all the Napa wineries that have opened a tasting room in recent times, the appointment is only is a formality. If you arrive at Madrigal, you have your appointment. Enjoy the view, a walk in the vineyards and best of all some very delicious wines. We don’t think it will too much longer that Madrigal Vineyards will remain “under the radar.”
The Good: Some production wines, family-owned,
The Bad: Some wines sold out, easy to miss the entrance, tasting fee is high