Here is a winery that takes us back in time to the good old days of the Napa Valley. The winery was only the second in Napa Valley after Prohibition. Not much has changed at Stony Hill Vineyard since its first vintage in 1952. The winery is still family owned and produces a small amount of wine. Stony Hill’s customer wine list buys most of the wine. Local restaurants also feature Stony Hill wine. Stony Hill is famous for its Chardonnay, a fruity food-friendly wine that does not overpower with oak flavors. Along with the Chardonnay, Stony Hill produces a dry and delicate White Riesling and a refreshing Gewurztraminer.
We visited with winemaker Mike Chelini. Mike is another testament to keeping things traditional at Stony Hill. Mike has been the only winemaker here for the past 45 years. Mike is the longest tenured winemaker in the Napa Valley.
Looking around the barrel room, it looks like nothing has changed since the winery began making wine. Mike carries with him a spiral notebook where he keeps his cellar notes. There are no signs of a computer or any other high-tech equipment. Mike likes an old fashioned approach to aging wines, avoiding new oak barrels for using mostly old barrels with a few new barrels mixed in.
Until recently Stony Hill was producing only white wines. Now Stony Hill has a rock solid Cabernet Sauvignon in their lineup. Like the white wines, the Cabernet Sauvignon is made in a restrained style, a food friendly wine.
There is no visitor center, but the winery does take visitors by appointment only. If you choose to visit here, the winery is in the same area as the historic Old Bale Mill. Enter the Old Bale Mill road and watch carefully for the small signs pointing to Stony Hill.