Round Pond Winery opened for tasting by appointment in mid July 2007. We followed the construction progress on this winery for at least a year visiting during different stages of construction. We stopped in on the second day that they were officially open! Just look for the bright red antique truck parked at the entrance to their long driveway. Round Pond is well-known locally as being one of only two commercial olive oil producing facilities in the Napa area (the other being Long Meadow Ranch). No other producers make olive oil here – all production is for Round Pond’s use only.
The winery has a very Italian feel to it with the palms, succulents gardens and olive trees. Note the palm grove in front of the winery; these were imported from Riverside California. Due its massive weight these palms even bent the crane as they were lowering them into the ground!
Round Pond was originally founded by Bob and Jan MacDonnell in the early 1980′s. For many years they sold grapes from their vineyards to other premium Napa wineries. The name “round pond” comes from Bob’s memories of a round pond in New York where he used to camp and fish every summer. The brother sister team of Miles and Ryan MacDonnell became involved in later years and today both are running the winery. This is truly an estate property with its 350 acres of vineyards, stunning gardens and orchards. All agriculture crops on the estate are grown either organically or sustainably.
A tasting here typically includes a short tour of the facilities including the winery. This is an extremely photogenic estate and property and the main building is very tastefully designed. A tasting includes one extremely rare varietal in the Napa Valley, the Nebbiolo (an Italian varietal) and their annual production is usually merely 50 cases of this wine. Out of 600+ commercial Napa wine producers tasted with to date, this is one of just several Napa wineries producing wine from this varietal. It is a delicious wine with nice cherry notes both in aroma and flavor. Because this wine can be somewhat tannic during its youth, Round Pond ages it for three years in oak. This is a great food wine as it has just the right amount of acidity, fruit and tannins. Your tasting starts in their reserve room downstairs, followed by the tour and then weather permitting, you will taste on their lovely outdoor patio upstairs. There is also a nice tasting bar inside where you can look through glass windows in the floor down to their barrel room.
In the summer of 2009 Round Pond introduced their “Sensory Garden” for guests. This garden is comprised of fruits, vegetables and herbs which contain similar flavors and aromas to that which is found in Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. Guests to the garden can also observe a number of Biodynamically farmed practices in action. In addition this garden supplies produce for pairings along with Round Pond’s wine.
The estate is 400 acres, much of which is planted with grapes and in the summer, it is a sea of green leaves in all directions. The upstairs patio is a great place to relax and taste wine. There are nice cushioned chairs, a fireplace and stunning views in all directions including Mt. St. Helena to the north. You will try several other wines including their Cabernet Sauvignon which is typically offered as several vintages in a vertical tasting. The 2005 vintage while still young at the time of our tasting showed great fruit, acidity and structure. This is the heart of Rutherford (long know for the “Rutherford Dust” that can be a part of wines produced here) and this wine displays a nice earthiness on the bouquet. The tasting is always paired with some delicious appetizers, often using produce grown on site. Round Pond also offers an exclusive dinner called the Twilight Tasting & Dinner and this is held on the 4th Saturday of every month. Enjoy Round Pond Wines with a multi-course meal!
You can also book a separate tour at their Estate Olive Mill, their olive oil production facility which is located across Rutherford Cross Road from the actual winery. This is a 90 minute sit down tasting of their olive oils, vinegars and syrups as well as a tour of their small production facility. If you’ve seen typical winery production equipment you will immediately recognize that the production equipment here is a bit different. Their vinegars are initially made as still wine then a culture is added to the wine to convert the alcohol into vinegar and once vinegar, it is aged in oak for up to 10 months before being released.
Olive oils on the other hand see a much faster to “product” time than either wine or vinegar – as in about 3.5 hours from harvest to production to bottling. There is no aging needed.
They grow both Spanish and Italian olive trees on the property and a couple of interesting olive oils are those infused with Meyer Lemons and Blood oranges. During select summer months from Friday through Sunday they offer drop in hours from 4-6pm where appointments are not needed. This is a great way to end and take a break from what has probably been a full day of wine tasting! Visit: www.roundpond.com