Madrigal Family Winery
Since the late 1930's, three generations of the Madrigal family have farmed some of Napa Valley’s finest vineyards. The family history is a constant source of inspiration, and guides us in our wine making now. We value the long relationship we've had with the land and the people here, believing that the combined wisdom of the folks who’ve been here for generations and a deep appreciation of these vineyards can be tasted in our wine.
Today, the company is run by Chris Madrigal, the founder's grandson. Our winemaker is the acclaimed Ed Sbragia, who built his reputation over 30 years of winemaking in the Napa, Sonoma, and Dry Creek Valleys. Ed’s wines have won awards for years and he’s proud of the reputation he’s earned. “I just do what I love and work with the gifts of the land,” said Ed. “All with a passion and pride passed down through generations at home.”
Chris' grandparents left Mexico in the late 1930's and arrived to the United States as railroad workers. They eventually made their way to the Napa Valley where they began farming apples, pears, walnuts, and grapes. They were one of the first, if not the first, Mexican family in the upper valley.
The early years, note Chris, were very difficult for his family. “We started from the very bottom. My father’s family lived in a one-room shack with 12 kids. It was a better life than they had before. In 1957 my dad joined the military, but he always talked about coming back to Napa Valley. In 1974 he got stationed in nearby Marin County, and he started pruning at vineyards on the weekends. When he retired from the military in 1976, he started doing vineyard management full time.” Jess chose early on to focus on wine and started the family's vineyard management business. Today, that company manages over 800 acres.
Chris' passion for winemaking inspired him to establish Madrigal Family Winery, though he learned the vineyard farming business a little later in his life, after graduating from high school and working as a union carpenter. In 1985 – the same year that Chris began to work with his father’s vineyard management company – they began overseeing the vineyards of Clos Pegase and Duckhorn wineries and growing grapes for other premium wineries including Cakebread Cellars and Chateau Montelena. As their reputation soared and while still working the vineyards as often as seven days a week, Chris realized his dream of establishing the family’s own winery.
Chris recalls urging his dad in the early years. “I said, ‘This is our time and our move, let’s do it.” Dad did it because it was my dream, but he sure didn’t make it easy on me. He said, “You can do the winery project, but you still have to do your vineyard work!” So I did! While taking care of my vineyard responsibilities, at lunch and in the evenings I’d make some phone calls and figure all the new winery stuff out. In 1995, Madrigal Family Winery produced its first vintage of 500 cases of Petite Sirah.
As a member of the 3rd generation of the Madrigal family, Chris continues the family's commitment to excellence and its legacy of developing outstanding vineyards and award-winning wines.
Chris ultimately attributes the family’s success to a strong work ethic. He also believes that luck has its hand in the equation. “I always say sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. I like being good and a lot of the things that have happened in our life has been a result of working hard; but if there wasn’t luck involved with it or if we weren’t at the right place at the right time, our story could be drastically different. Be it luck or hard work, the Madrigal dream is alive and well!
The Madrigal winery produces about 10,000 cases of wine a year, specializing in Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, Las Vinas, and Atlas Peak), Petite Sirah, Gewurztraminer, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, a proprietary red blend named Sonnet #63, and small lots of single vineyard and estate wines.
Please visit us to experience the exceptional wines, friendly atmosphere, and 3rd generation family hospitality.