by Fred McMillin
for April 9, 1999
Winery of the Week
Whitehall Stands Tall
Whatta twist! On March 31,1993 an American
bought a Napa Winery from a Japanese.
The Rest of the Story
Entrepreneur Tom Leonardini, owner of the Napa
Valley Wine Exchange and a San Francisco businessman,
immediately set about upgrading his new purchase.
He couldn't upgrade the land, since the vineyard
was in the coveted heart of the Napa Valley.
So, the first thing he did was hire a winemaker
with an impressive pedigree...viticulture and
winemaking in college...then working with the
legendary Mike Grgich...then winemaker at one of
Napa's best, the Grace Family Vineyards. Gary
Galleron's first vintage was 1993. He soon was
garnering "90" ratings in the press. Here's what
James Laube says in California Wine about the
- Cabernet Sauvignon—Good and improving.
- Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve—Past few
vintages are solid. A wine to watch since
the focus is to raise the quality level
to Napa's best.
- Chardonnay—Three stars and improving.
My picky panel just tasted the '96 Cab, and
gave it a hard-to-get HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. They
put it on their MOST WANTED list, since the
consensus was that it has a brilliant future in
your cellar. $22.
Just The Facts
Whitehall Lane Winery
St. Helena, Napa Valley, CA.
Philosophy—Keep this a small, family-owned
winery. Grow most of your own grapes, supplemented
by long-term contracts with a few other farmers
that are committed to favoring intense flavors
instead of high yields.
Vineyards—22 acres at the winery plus
14 nearer St. Helena.
Contact—Office of General Manager Michael McLoughlin, (707) 963-9454, FX (707) 963-7035
There's no mystery about the origin of the winery's
name, since the facility is located at the
intersection of Highway 29 and Whitehall Lane.
More suprising is the fact that a nearby road has
the same name as the winemaker...Galleron. But
there's a good reason: Gary grew up playing
there because the road is named after the Galleron
For more about the winery, see these two WineDays...
Nov. 24,1997, "Melot Can Steal The Show" and
Oct. 23,1997, "The Bench That Roared".
About the Writer
Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history
for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine
courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College.
In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred
with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded
to American wine writers.
More articles by
Welcome to WineDay, the electronic
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WineDay presents a wine profile. Then on Fridays we present
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