Groth Vineyards & Winery
Groth Vineyards & Winery Hillview 2014 Chardonnay
Groth Vineyards & Winery believes that a significant portion of the magic in the bottle comes from what goes on out in the vineyards. Groth estate have enabled us to make sure we have the perfect grape planted in the perfect location. As a family, we are dedicated to producing the best wine that a vintage will allow. All of our resources, our property and the skills of our employees, are dedicated to this objective. We believe that if we make great wine, success will follow.
Located in the heart of Napa, California
- The Best Cabernet Sauvignons are "Rooted in Oakville"
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Cameron’s winemaking philosophy begins in the vineyards. “The real work is in the vineyard itself, to grow the very best fruit possible, and not screw it up in the winery” says Cameron. If you need to find Parry it’s best to start searching in Groth’s 121 acre Oakville Estate Vineyard, or their 44 acre Hillview Vineyard in Yountville. Looking forward Cameron says, “Having an intimate and daily knowledge of what is happening in our vineyards guides all of my decisions in the cellar. I strive to showcase the unique characteristics of the vineyard and vintage, and feel honored to be making Cabernet at the epicenter of Napa Valley’s most esteemed Cabernet district.”
Before arriving in Oakville, Cameron spent the last ten years as Winemaker at the historic Napa Valley winery Chateau Montelena. Parry holds an M.S. degree in Food Science with an emphasis in Enology from the University of California, Davis. He also holds a joint Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology and Biology, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from New Mexico State University. Parry is fluent in Spanish and has been a Board member of the Napa Valley Wine Technical Group and serves on the Enology Grants Review Committee for the American Vineyard Foundation. When not making wine, Parry is an avid outdoorsman who loves rock climbing, canoeing, and backpacking with his family. “I don’t want my kids to remember a time when they did not go camping, I live outside.” He also enjoys gardening and is currently experimenting with fifteen different types of tomatoes plants.
Throughout high school and during summer breaks from college, Suzanne helped out around the winery. In fact her first job was cleaning her parent’s office on weekends, later working her way up to a tasting room position. Graduating from Lewis and Clark College in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history, Suzanne entered the art world, working in a gallery. Soon, deciding on a career in wine, Suzanne spent four years with the Henry Wine Group, a California wine distributor, selling fine wine to restaurants and retailers in the San Francisco Bay Area. She says, “It was only after selling other people’s ‘wine vision’ that I was able to appreciate how very special Groth Vineyards was.” She returned to the family business in 1998, working several years in wine sales and Public Relations before becoming VP of Sales and Marketing in 2009.
Traveling throughout the country, Suzanne learned first hand about the complicated business of wine distribution and customer relations. With the birth of her children, Jackson Groth Jones, and Genevieve Groth Jones, she has an even greater interest in working to ensure the success of the family business for the future of the next generation.
In January of 2009 Dennis and Judy increased the level of ownership to active partners, Suzanne and her brother Andrew, to 22% of the business to each. With increased ownership comes the responsibility of all points of sales and distribution, while her brother overlooks all aspects of farming and winemaking. Suzanne continues to oversee all aspects of direct-to-consumer sales including the retail room and the popular Team Red Stripe and Groth Cabernet Only wine clubs. Alongside her duties at the winery, she serves as the Napa County District Director for The Wine Institute, is active with Oakville Winegrowers, and serves on a committee for the Napa Valley Vintners Association.
Intertwining her art, family, and work, with each release of a Groth Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Suzanne produces a new painting. These paintings grace the walls of the winery, and one hangs at the Wine Institute in San Francisco. “Painting gives me the chance to portray our story and my family’s dedication to our land from a different perspective,” she says. “Growing up in Oakville has most definitely influenced my palette and eye.”
Andrew Groth has worked steadily for the past several years to master every aspect of running a successful winery. His hands-on knowledge of how each department operates and how every employee contributes to the whole has been gained by training with everything from grape crushing to financial reporting.
In 2001, under the direction of Winemaker Michael Weis, Andrew spent a full-time year in wine production. He immersed himself in winemaking, from harvesting and barrel washing to blending and bottling. He augmented this practical experience with business training at the UC Davis School of Management, leading to an MBA with a concentration in agricultural business and accounting. An internship in the Groth accounting department focused his attention on the business side of winemaking.
Since graduation in 2003, Andrew served as a sales manager for the winery for a few years, concentrating on regional sales in the Midwest, from Texas and Colorado to Illinois and Michigan. After that, Andrew worked in the finance department, learning the specifics of the winery’s financial management and reporting. In 2009 promoted to Vice President of Operations, Andrew now oversees the Winemaking and Vineyard Management teams.
Prior to joining the winery, Andrew paralleled his father’s career in the high-tech area. After getting a BA from Ohio Wesleyan in economics management in 1994, Andrew came back to the Bay Area to work in the burgeoning dot-com sector. Andrew actively participated in and witnessed the rapid-fire growth of the new web-based business dynamic. As customer service manager for Macromedia, a company specializing in web software, he led a team of 15, helping the company grow from 70 to 2500 employees. He became a senior manager at Greenlight.com, a startup Internet automobile retailer, pioneering one of the first Internet retail models.
After eight years in high tech, it was time to take that business experience and apply it to the family business. In the Groth family tradition, he is now taking increased responsibility for the financial side of making fine wine.
Ken Uhl has been Director of Sales & Marketing for Groth Vineyards since 1993. After earning his degree in Hotel Administration at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Ken returned home to the Napa Valley to start his career beginning as a Food and Beverage Director for one of Napa’s largest hotel chains. Wanting to be more a part of the Napa Valley, Ken went from the hotel business to property manager for Robert Mondavi Winery through an outside contractor. Still feeling like he was on the outside looking in, Ken sought the advice of a key member of Mondavi’s top management team. Ken was directed to ‘find a small winery that will allow you to start in production and really learn the business'. Not one to do anything ‘small’, Ken proceeded to work for the Chalone Wine Group in the cellar. He worked with Chalone for just over three years, learning everything he could and loving every minute of it, but still not feeling like he found his niche. So during the slow production months, Ken asked if he could hit the streets and sell some wine. Voila, he found his niche and in 1993 he found a ‘home’ with Groth and has been instrumental in creating the brand and breaking sales records ever since.
The vineyard philosophy at Groth isn’t a lofty abstraction; it gets right down into the details. “Each and every vine is managed for its individual needs.” says vineyard manager Ben Benson. “We prune, thin shoots, or leaf pull for balance throughout the vineyard so that all the grapes have uniform ripening and optimum maturity.”
Ben has had plenty of time to get to know every vine in the vineyards. Born and raised in San Francisco, he first arrived in Napa Valley in 1975. Coming, like Dennis Groth, from an accounting background, he was already a Napa grower since 1976 and became Groth’s first employee in 1982.
Over the years, he supervised the replanting of Groth Vineyards that began in 1996, selecting the most promising clones and rootstocks that had become available and establishing trellising systems that maximized vine balance. Having replanted over 90 % of the Groth vineyards, Ben knows as much as anyone in the Napa Valley and specifically in Oakville about what techniques work for quality grapes and for environmental stewardship.
Practices & Techniques
More often than not, the same practices that promote grape and wine quality also have an environmental payoff. When Groth replanted, the orientation of the vine rows was changed from cross valley to follow the natural direction of the Napa Valley. This allows the breezes that come up the Valley from the San Pablo Bay to flow more easily through the vineyards. The result is increased air circulation, less mildew and rot on the vines and consequently less need for spraying fungicides—better for the wine, better for the environment.
Preserving natural resources is also a key element of sustainable farming, one step further than organic farming. Sustainable farming practices take into consideration its effects on the whole environment and upon the health of the entire watershed of the Napa Valley. Water is precious in the state of California. Encouraging cover crops not only helps establish a healthy insect population that battles ‘bad bugs’ it also preserves soil moisture. “By encouraging cover crops we actually use less water, and we keep the tractor passes through the vineyards to a minimum,” say Benson. We no longer use tractors to disc and hoe every weed in the vineyard. “If you see weeds in the vineyards, it indicates smart farming and fewer chemicals,” says Dennis Groth.
Proper canopy management that lets more sunshine get to the grapes promotes riper flavors, and also discourages the population of destructive insects, like leafhoppers, reducing the need for pesticides. Benson focuses on balanced vines—making sure that vines are spaced, pruned, trellised and irrigated in a way that produces just the amount of fruit the plants can ripen, no more, no less. Besides promoting uniform ripeness, balanced vines ultimately require less work—fewer tractor passes, less fuel burned, less soil compaction.
Preserving the land is not only good for the grapes; it’s good for sustaining the family-owned business at Groth. Dennis and Judy are proud of what they have accomplished and determined to pass it on. “I’d like to think my kids could make great wine forever off this property,” says Dennis.