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The Estate Story
Situated in the heart of Napa Valley, Sullivan Rutherford Estate spans of 26 acres of vineyards and lush gardens. At the center are the family residence and winery which are open to visitors with an advance appointment. For nearly fifty years the Estate has been an oasis for artists, chefs, friends and wine lovers, and to this day remains a destination for discerning travelers.
The Estate was founded in 1972 by James ("Jim") O’Neil Sullivan, a visionary and pioneer of Rutherford, a premier Napa Valley appellation for Cabernet Sauvignon. Jim's passion for creating great wine predated the 1976 Judgement of Paris which famously recognized Napa Valley wines as among the best in the world.
Today, the Estate continues to build on its legacy of growing and crafting world class Cabernet Sauvignon. Under new ownership in 2018, the team is deeply investing in its vineyard programs and plans are underway to build a state of the art winery beginning in 2019.
Led by entrepreneur Juan Pablo Torres Padilla, the small private partnership recognizes great potential for crafting exquisite wines and a gracious visitor experience. “We’re building upon the foundation laid by James O’Neil Sullivan, and the estate he created during his lifetime. His deep commitment to the vineyards and sophisticated winemaking practices present us with tremendous opportunity. We share his values of hard work, discipline, and the pursuit of excellence and I’m committed to making this estate one of the best in Rutherford, Napa Valley, and the world,” says Padilla.
Estate wines fondly named "The James O'Neil" Collection after our Founder, James O'Neil Sullivan. This portfolio includes our James O'Neil Cabernet Sauvignon and James O'Neil Merlot. Included also in this tasting, is the 'Coeur de Vigne' or Heart of the Vine. 'Coeur de Vigne' is a Sullivan Winery Classic, debuting its first vintage in 1983.
Recently featured in Robb Report as Napa’s next up and coming winemaker, Jeff Cole, a native of Napa Valley, hailing from the small town of Yountville, was surrounded by the wine industry from his earliest years. He graduated with a Wine and Viticulture degree from California Polytechnic University in 2006. While there, Jeff gained valuable, hands-on experience at Laetitia Winery and Windward Vineyards. He then learned the méthode champenoise, while making sparkling wines at Schramsberg Vineyards. In 2013, Jeff joined the Sullivan team and has been perfecting the art of making world-class cabernet sauvignon ever since.
“Vintage after vintage, we strive to improve our techniques and redouble our commitment to excellence. We are proud of the wines we craft, but constantly scrutinize each detail for insights that can take us to the next level. I am delighted to be part of a team that shares a philosophy of dedication to quality and excited for continued investment towards creating the finest Napa Valley wines.”
As part of our future in 2018, Jeff Cole and Juan Pablo combined efforts adding World famous Vineyard Manager, Mike Wolfe, who famously managed the vineyards for Juliana Vineyards, Andy Boekstoffer and Scarecrow, one of Napa’s most iconic wines. Mike is on the board of trustees for the California Grower Foundation, a past president, vice president and director of the Napa County Farm Bureau, and a member of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture, and the Napa Valley Viticultural Technical Group. He also serves on the board of directors for the Napa Valley Farm WorkersFoundation. In 2015, he earned Vineyard Manager of the year, and we are excited to have him on our team.