Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Rock, Stock, and a Few Soaking Barrels

Longtime friends honor a Sonoma family ranch with boutique wines.



Drinking Buddies: Joey Cannata and Lucas Heldfond of Rocky Hill Wines.

Jock McDonald

Back in high school, pals Joey Cannata and Lucas Heldfond never would have guessed they’d become proprietors of artisanal wine. Their Rocky Hill Wines began as a fun dream, a few cases for friends to enjoy. Then, Wine Enthusiast stamped a 93-point seal of approval on the second vintage, and a collector-worthy label was born.

Using vineyards from Heldfond’s family compound in Glen Ellen, the friends joined forces with veteran winemaker Don Van Staaveren to ensure a proper pedigree. Van Staaveren’s résumé includes Wine Spectator’s No. 1 Wine in the World in 1999. Rocky Hill’s portfolio consists of a Pinot Gris, a Malbec rosé, and the proprietary red blend, with a Chardonnay and Pinot Gris composite around the corner. At a mere 1,000 cases produced, most of the wines sell directly to its client list, with a few allocated to San Francisco restaurants such as Balboa Cafe, Terzo, and Spruce.

Given that the family ranch dates to 1959 and provided the setting for Cannata’s wedding to Heldfond’s sister, Rocky Hill is a sentimental hobby for them while they run separate businesses. Cannata is the executive vice president of sales and distribution for Rockstar Energy Drink, and Heldfond just launched Epoch, a tech start-up. When they need to unwind, they retreat to the Rocky Hill ranch with their families.

Asked what he loves most about the project, Heldfond says, “We get to share the experience of a place that has played an important role in both of our lives, from my childhood to Joey’s wedding and now with our children. It is a very special place.” rockyhillwine.com.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Scene

Keep up with the who's who in Wine Country.

Sixth Annual Project Zin

Out of The Shadows

With his own label and winery in the works, Philippe Melka finally takes the spotlight.

Vinolivo Weekend Grand Tasting June 2016

Rebuilding History

After a catastrophic earthquake, the Trefethens rescued their historic winery, setting it up for another 50 years of great wines.

Wounded Veterans Polo Benefit

Polo players, ponies, and horse-drawn carriages made appearances at the sixth annual Wounded Veterans Polo Benefit at Trione Polo Field in Santa Rosa.

Weill’s Season Opening Gala

The opening of Weill Hall’s fourth season was celebrated with a festive cocktail reception at Prelude Restaurant

Museum Magic 2016

Twirling airborne acrobats, fire dancers, and magicians entertained attendees during this annual fundraising event at the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville.

Crushing It

Bart and Daphne Araujo are turning collaborative winemaking on its head at Wheeler Farms.

The Music Man of the Napa Valley Opera House

With Peter Williams at the helm, the Napa Valley Opera House heats up.

Napa Valley Festival del Sole

More than 10,000 attendees enjoyed dozens of music, theater, dance, and food events at the 10th annual Festival del Sole.

Ninth Annual Pigs and Pinot

Held at the Hotel Healdsburg and Dry Creek Kitchen, the extravaganza drew pork and pinot enthusiasts from near and far.
Edit ModuleShow Tags