Oscar Renteria, of Renteria Wines, and I had an immediate connection but, oddly, not on the subject of spectacular wine but our shared stories of farming.
I don’t think of the term “farming” as one usually showing up on the back labels of cult wines, but it means a lot to those who understand not only the wine but what the vineyard and land give to it. And it is in this understanding that our family stories – grapes growing in the soils of Napa Valley and cotton and soybeans in south Arkansas – come together.
Oscar’s father, Salvador Renteria, is the founder of their family’s legacy to the American wine industry. Salvador arrived in Napa Valley from Mexico in 1962, first picking grapes as afield laborer and later working as vineyard supervisor. In just a few short years his talents and knowledge of the terroir were evident as he went on to oversee some of the most recognized vineyards in the world, Silverado, Cuvaison, Clos Pegase and Beaulieu vineyards, to name a few. He was one of the first in Napa Valley to employ trellising and canopy management. His experiment sin the field led to innovative methods and improvements. In 1987 Salvador started his own management company.
Oscar took over the family business in 1993. He had worked in the vineyard alongside his father, gaining an understanding of his father’s passion and approach. The experience guided him in the direction he charted for Renteria Vineyard Management, Inc., the third largest vineyard management company in the northern Bay Area.
At our tasting Oscar clearly enjoyed talking about his family’s wines, but it was when he talked about Renteria’s future that the excitement in his voice peaked. He is convinced that new ways of using technology are key. Oscar believes combining his father’s ideas with modern innovations will lead to the best quality grapes a vineyard can produce.
Those of us in the wine industry call this terroir, many field workers call it the land and then some of us simply refer to it as the indisputable love of the land, soil, and nature: farming.
- 2009 Renteria Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $30 retail)
- 2008 Renteria Russian River Pinot Noir, California (about $40 retail)