Tom Rinaldi -
Partner / Consulting Winemaker / Board Member
Tom Rinaldi, has been a part of Napa Valley winemaking for 48 years (more than three decades), and has remained thrilled that his life's work involves creating something beautiful to share with others. Rinaldi has made wine at some of the valley's most important wineries, apprenticing at Freemark Abbey, Rutherford Hill and Round Hill before joining Dan and Margaret Duckhorn to help found Duckhorn Vineyards in 1978. There, for two decades, he established himself as one of Napa Valley's premier fashioners of elegantly classic Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots. He recently retired as Director of Winemaking at Provenance and Hewitt where he earned the Wine Spectators #4 wine in the world for the 2010 Hewitt Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon in 2013. He has been the consulting winemaker for Ambassador Wines of Washington since 2012.
Rinaldi says that Cabernet Sauvignon is both the most challenging and the most rewarding of wines. "The winemaker is the maestro with Cabernet," he explains. "I have such an opportunity to mold the wine, to produce something from the heart. With Pinot Noir, there's no chance to blend. But with Cabernet you get to add something here, take away something there. Look, I've been given a blank canvas, the greatest paint box in the world to work with and the artistic freedom to put my experience to good use. What could be more fun?"
Rinaldi manages to have fun doing other things once in a while, however. For example, he enjoys meeting every month or so to taste wine with other longtime Napa Valley winemakers. They discuss vineyards, winemaking methods, industry trends and what they like and don't like about the wines they taste. In his spare time, he cycles and flies gliders.