Pellet Estate

Pellet Estate is a family owned winery. Greg and Robin Krill came to Napa Valley in 2000 for a weekend get-away in wine-country. They, like many, fell in love with the town of St Helena and the wine culture, drawn to the history of the valley and the quality of wines that were emerging from small vineyards up-valley. Initially purchasing vineyards in central south St. Helena, they soon focused on the west side, and in 2005 their dream of re-establishing one of the valley’s most historically significant vineyards began.

Pellet Estate barrel room

The flagship wine for Pellet Estate is the Cabernet Sauvignon from the Pellet Vineyard®, a blend of about 90% Cabernet Sauvignon with the balance being Merlot and Petit Verdot. The Chardonnay from the Sunchase Vineyard® in the Petaluma Gap is crafted in two styles – an Unoaked Chardonnay and a traditional Burgundian barrel fermented Chardonnay.

winemaker Tom Rinaldi and Eric Risch smiling at a wine event

Winemaking at Pellet Estate is led by the notable Tom Rinaldi. Raised in San Francisco, Tom made frequent trips to Napa on his motorcycle, buying wines directly from the wineries of the day. After four years in the Navy, Tom enrolled at UC Davis along with notable classmates Mike Martini, Tim Mondavi, Randy Dunn, and Bob Levy.

Tom’s career began at Freemark Abbey, an experience he calls “a great job, and a great honor.” In 1978, Tom became the founding winemaker at Duckhorn Vineyards. After 22 vintages of creating some of Napa’s most celebrated wines, in 2000 Tom helped launch Provenance Vineyards and Hewitt Vineyard from the ground up. Tom’s recent 2010 Hewitt Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was named to the Wine Spectator’s Top 10 in the world for 2013, and the #1 Wine in California.

Always the avid learner, Tom loves everything from anticipating the vineyards’ seasons to experimenting with new methodologies and technologies, always open to innovative practices alongside traditional methods. Tom resides with his wife and daughter in St. Helena, where you will either find him in the vineyard, the cellar, or riding his bike throughout the Napa Valley.

Eric Risch oversees the winemaking direction and portfolio, day to day winery operations, and sales and marketing. Eric is an entrepreneur with careers at Wells Fargo Bank, the R&D division of Apple Computer, and Medior, Inc. and founder of Grapevine, a corporation that grew to be one of the top eight web marketing firms in the Bay Area in just six years serving start-ups and Fortune 1000 companies.

He enjoys every opportunity to connect with customers locally and at regional events all over the country, and appreciates hosting visitors for tastings and vineyard tours, often discussing his passion for wine and food. Eric currently serves on the Board of Directors for Appellation St. Helena, helping promote and advance St. Helena grape growing and winemaking.

Pellet Estate® is a rare, authentically grown, and classically made wine. The Estate is a spectacular vineyard site in the small town of St. Helena, with a rich history dating back to 1859. Henry Pellet, one of the founding pioneers of Napa Valley winemaking, first planted this site with a vision of producing wines that would be among the best in the world.

overview shot of Pellet Estate vineyard in napa valley

The Pellet Vineyard’s origin begins in 1863 with the purchase of 45 acres of land in the Southwest corner of St. Helena that was filled with Manzanita brush Pellet cleared and planted to 38 acres of vines. During the 1870’s, Pellet expanded to a wine cellar under the name of Pellet & Carver, with an on-site capacity of 80,000 gallons that was partially underground. Throughout the following decades, the vineyard continued to produce quality crops over various ownership changes. Today the vineyard produces about equal amounts of Clone 4 and Clone 337 Cabernet Sauvignon, and small amounts of Merlot and Petit Verdot. The soil here is bale gravelly/rocky loam, on an alluvial fan at the base of the western foothills, planted in 7 foot rows with 4 foot vine spacing, using modified vertical shoot trellising.

grapes on a vine in sunchase vineyard petaluma gap

All Pellet Estate Chardonnay is sourced from the Sunchase Vineyard located in the Petaluma Gap AVA. The vineyard is perched high above the fog on the Sonoma Coast at an elevation of between 900-1,400′, where the Petaluma Wind Gap collides with Sonoma Mountain just over the Napa County border. The cool ocean breezes & moderate sunshine, paired with fractured rocky clay soil consistently produces distinguished Chardonnay. Sunchase is a state-of-the-art, high density vineyard developed in 2007 situated on the southern side of Sonoma Mountain, an area heavily influenced by cool ocean breezes. There are 24 acres planted to Pinot Noir, with four different clones of grapes, and 18 acres of Chardonnay. These two varietals excel in the Petaluma Gap region and the quality of fruit is an excellent demonstration of what this vineyard produces.

As members of the Napa Valley Vintners, the Napa Valley Grape GrowersAppellation St. Helena, and the Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance, the team is proud to participate in the various charitable, educational, culinary and trade events each year. These organizations support the winery’s beliefs of best and sustainable practices, educational support, raising appreciation and awareness of the wine industry, and very importantly, giving back to the communities.

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Pellet Estate

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