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  • Theresa Downs

White Rock Vineyards: Best Kept Napa Secret to Astonishing Chardonnay

Part of a Chardonnay blog series.


An opening in the wall is closed by stacks of wine bottles creating an almost honeycomb-like pattern
Image White Rock Vineyards via Wine By Appointment LLC.

Details:

Address: 1112 Loma Vista Drive, Napa, CA 94558

Phone: (707) 257-7922

Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Daily

Appointments are required.

Tours/Tastings Offered:

White Rock Vineyards offers a Private Tour and Tasting for $75.00 per person.


What's Their Story:

White Rock Vineyards is one of the oldest wineries in Napa. The land, originally part of a land grant to Salvador Vallejo, was purchased by Dr. Pettingill in 1870. Dr. Pettingill was a real Renaissance guy, a dentist, brewer, winemaker, and horse breeder who was a devotee of science. In 1871, he constructed the winery, using a hand saw to cut the abundant white rock on the property.

Henri Vandendriessche, an emigre from Northern France in 1960, had two loves: his wife, whom he met in 1967, and Napa Valley. The Vandendriesches purchased the 64-acre estate in 1977 that Dr. Pettingill founded with the express wish to restore the winery to its prior glory.


The second generation of Vandendriessches are at the helm of the winery; Christopher serves as winemaker, and brother Michael, as vineyard manager, is now responsible for the winery's operations.


Why The Winery Made The Grade:

White Rock Vineyards is one of those insider secret wineries. White Rock Vineyard is a favorite of wine concierges and other industry folk, shuns the limelight, and concentrates on making excellent wine.


Taking a page from Dave Ramey of Ramey Wine Cellars, for whom Christopher Vandendriessches worked, White Rock Vineyard's mission is to produce wines using sustainable and classical winemaking methods. White Rock Vineyards Chardonnay wines are age-worthy. Their crisp and clean wines feature fresh fruit flavors such as apple and citrus.


Ambiance:

Tastings are conducted outdoors; visitors enjoy the beauty of the vineyards as they quaff wine. Their caves, built in 1987, are also part of the tour. The caves are something to see; the winery can cellar up to 45,000 bottles at a time.


The family has experienced recent tragedy, though; in October of 2017, during the horrific Napa fires, the Vandendriessche family homes and the property's barns and sheds were burned to the ground. And the aforementioned cave looked ravaged from the outside, with hundreds of shattered wine bottles spilling out from its central door. Fortunately, the damage wasn't extensive, and they were able to continue operations.


Wine barrels with a red stripe down the center are stacked in the White Rock Vineyards cave
Image White Rock Vineyards via Wine By Appointment LLC.

Which Winery Visitor Type Would Love It :

I think all winery visitor types would enjoy a visit. White Rock Vineyards is one of the oldest wineries in Napa. The scenery is gorgeous, the wine is sublime, and it is fun to visit a place few people know.


An overview of the White Rock Vineyards grapes
Image White Rock Vineyards via Wine By Appointment LLC.

Read the next blog in the series: William Hill Estate Wine

Or read all of the blogs in our new guide, Chardonnay Wineries of Sonoma and Napa.



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