2021 Grande Vineyard Zinfandel, Napa Valley

Don’t Mess with Tradition

wooden fence with large gate with view of Grande Vineyard

Just east of the historic Silverado Trail near the town of Napa, lies an old Zinfandel vineyard that is one of our favorite historic family stories in Napa Valley. Until her recent passing, Dorothy Rossi and her son, Tony Rossi, took care of an old-vine vineyard that was planted by Dorothy’s father, Theodosio Grande, in 1920–the same year that Dorothy was born!

This family tradition is a classic example of what gave birth to the international stature that today’s Napa Valley now enjoys. At the turn of the 20th Century, immigrants settled in California’s rural valleys to farm fruits and vegetables, livestock, poultry, raise their own food, and grow wine grapes, mostly Zinfandel, (and Petite Sirah) to sell to winemakers and to make their own wine.

Zinfandel was the consensus favorite among wine growers in early California: a hearty producer and highly flavorful grape that was perfectly suited to the healthy soils and sunny climate of California.

Biale zinfandel grapes from Grande Vineyard in large bins waiting to be pressed

Theodosio Rossi was no exception. Having arrived in Napa from Venice, Italy, Theodosio soon planted Zinfandel, pears, prunes, and walnuts. He also built a farmhouse, chicken coop and barn, all of which still exist, as though having been preserved in some sort of agrarian time capsule.

Driving into the Rossi property today is like going back in time to the early days of Napa Valley. Not much has changed. Tony tends daily to the vines, coops, and orchard. And every autumn the pickers hand-harvest perfect bunches of Zinfandel into bins. Starting in 2001, all those Zinfandel bunches began to be delivered to the Biale winery, where we cherish the fruits of the labors of Theodosio Grande and his offspring – a genuine and sweet family tradition that daily reminds us of Napa Valley’s agricultural origins.

Winemaker’s Tasting Notes: Vibrant notes of black cherry, raspberry, vanilla, and baking spices fill the glass. Broad and rich on the palate with flavors of blackberry, dark chocolate, dried strawberry, white pepper, and toffee. Elegant tannins complete the balanced and layered old vine Zinfandel.