Provenance Vineyards Director of WinemakingThroughout his three decades of Napa Valley winemaking, Tom Rinaldi has remained thrilled that his life’s work involves creating something beautiful to share with others. “It’s a privilege to work with the exceptional fruit from the Rutherford, Oakville and Carneros districts to craft the wines of Provenance,” says Tom. “I love everything from anticipating the vineyards’ seasons to experimenting with new technologies. I love the way we use innovative practices right alongside traditional methods. For example, even as we’re using recent technology for sophisticated vineyard mapping, we’re also evaluating grapes by that most time-honored of methods—tasting.”
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. “I enjoyed my time at Duckhorn and was sad to leave,” says Rinaldi, “but I had gotten to the point where I was an administrator and not a winemaker. I wasn’t being creative any longer.”
He credits the long-term winegrower relationships at Provenance with the winery’s high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. He walks the vineyard rows with each grower team as they trade ideas and challenge each other’s processes for the finest results.
In this same spirit of camaraderie, Rinaldi enjoys meeting 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. Rinaldi can also be found biking all over the area—sometimes even to Provenance and back from his home in St. Helena.