A descendent of two winemaking families whose roots in Napa Valley reach back nearly a century, Bob Pestoni was expected to follow in his parents´ footsteps. Of course he did become a winemaker – but not at first. Instead, he did what any red-blooded boy in the 1950s did: he rebelled.
In 1963, Bob and his brother Marvin created Upper Valley Disposal Service, becoming the refuse hauler for the upper Napa Valley. Coming from a family of farmers who depended on the land for their survival, they understood and practiced the art of sustainable farming: planting the right crops, observing proper rotation and always striving to achieve a balance with the land. It was these same lessons and values that propelled their introduction of an aggressive recycling program long before it was fashionable.
In the late 1970s two problems began to weigh on the local wine industry. The first: what to do with the pomace, the grape skin, pulp, seeds and stems left over after crushing. At the time, local wineries were dumping it back into their vineyards or at their property´s edge where it would seep into groundwater. The second problem was how to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers, which were also having negative effects on the Napa Valley. Bob began to experiment with an age-old farming practice that had somehow gone out of style: composting. By the 1980s, Upper Valley Recycling was processing nearly all the discarded grape seeds, skins and stems from the Up Valley wineries into compost – an innovation that landed Bob a centerfold appearance in National Geographic Magazine.
In the mid 1990s, Bob and his wife Sylvia were presented with a rare opportunity. A small winery adjacent to their family´s Rutherford property had become available for purchase. Over the years, Bob and Sylvia had always grown grapes on their land, but they had always sold their fruit to other wine producers. They hadn´t been interested in becoming vintners before, but the acquisition of this new property renewed Bob´s admiration for his family´s business – and for his heritage. In 1994, they opened the doors to Rutherford Grove Winery and resumed making the single vineyard, hand-crafted artisanal wines Bob´s father and grandfather had created there for more than a century before him.
"My job is to assure that each vintage reflects the view of the vineyard and then hand-craft the wines into an expression of their own."
Over the past 18 years, Alejandro has worked in every facet of the wine business, including vineyard management, wine production, retail sales as well as a winemaking for several Napa Valley clients.
Named in 2015 by Wine Enthusiast as one of four Napa winemakers to watch, Alejandro began his career in 1993 in the cellars of the Hess Collection. By 2007, Alejandro became assistant winemaker to David De Sante, and worked with Quixote, Tierra Roja, Metamorphosis, DeSante Wines and Oakville Terrace. These small production wineries use some of the highest quality vineyards fruit in Napa. In 2008, Alejandro assumed the role of winemaker for the Sabina Vineyard's Pinot Noir program while still assisting David DeSante with the Cabernet. Within two years, he became head winemaker.
In 2010 Alejandro became the winemaker for our Pestoni Family, Rutherford Grove and Quackenbush labels.
We are proud to be working with him.