Longfellow Wine Cellars

Longfellow Wine Cellars

Longfellow Wines is a boutique winery located in Napa, CA. Dedicated to producing the highest quality cuvees, Longfellow wines are natively fermented and unfiltered. We source three distinct vineyards to make three very distinctive wines. Our winemaking philosophy puts quality ahead of everything else. When each grape cluster is finally picked, we decide then and there on harvest day if it goes into our bin or stays behind. We don't pay for any grapes that aren't just perfect and neither should you!

Our passion for wine extends to why people enjoy it. The back of our label sums it up just right:

"So, please enjoy our wines and raise a glass for your good friends and family, near or far, who will always be a part of you."

Longfellow was founded in 2000 by two childhood friends, Mark Smith and Craig Whitney, with the goal of producing high quality single vineyard wines of unique character and distinction. The 2001 wines are Longfellow's inaugural vintage and are the result of two years of hard work and planning. One would think that we named our new winery Longfellow because of some deep seeded love for the eponymous poet, but in reality, Longfellow is the name of the neighborhood we grew up in Maryland.

We both went our separate ways after graduating from the University of South Carolina (Go Gamecocks!) but wound up in Northern California after graduate school. A spring break trip to the Napa Valley while in college sparked our initial interest in wine and the Napa Valley (I think we hit about twelve wineries in a single afternoon), but our subsequent proximity to the Napa Valley and an ever increasing knowledge of California wines stoked our entrepreneurial spirit to do something more in the wine business.

To us, Longfellow represents our long friendship through the years and with the release of the 2001 vintage, our passion to produce the highest quality wines. Wine has become an important part of our lives and a common thread that has brought our close families and friends together. We hope that Longfellow wines will become a part of your lives, especially when you celebrate good times with your close friends and family.

We are big fans of "BIG" yet, balanced wines. With our wines, Longfellow looks to produce wines that have deep color and concentrated layers of aromas and flavors yet are balanced from start through finish. Our goal is to produce wines that will get better over time, but ones that you will be talking about after dinner and tell your friends about the next day. Our small varietal production allows Longfellow wines to be truly handcrafted from vineyard to bottle. Every aspect of the winemaking process is directed to produce wines true to their varietal heritage, but unique expressions of the vineyard and climate where they were grown.

As with all exceptional wines, the quality starts in the vineyard. With the Longfellow label, we committed that for each varietal, if high quality fruit could not be procured, the wine would not be made. Our ultimate case production will depend solely on the ability to source grapes from extraordinary vineyards. In pursuit of this goal, we have forged relationships with growers who are the foundation of our commitment to quality.

Longfellow is very fortunate and proud to have Rolando Herrera as its winemaker. Rolando is the foundation of the Longfellow winemaking philosophy. He shares our singular goal of only producing exceptional wines of unique character. A native of Michoacan, Mexico, Rolando worked as a laborer until he discovered that he had a good wine palate. Arriving in the Napa Valley in 1982 at the age of 15, Rolando worked several odd jobs until he started his winemaking career at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars as their cellar master. After graduating from the University of Stag’s Leap (as he puts it) where he learned the basics of the wine industry and winemaking, he decided to make winemaking his career and enrolled in a winemaking certificate program at the University of California at Davis.

Rolando then moved on to become the associate winemaker at Chateau Potelle. From there, Rolando refined his personal winemaking style as the winemaker at Vine Cliff Winery and more recently as the Director of Winemaking for Paul Hobbs Consulting, helping manage several limited production, ultra premium wine projects. For the last four years, Rolando has directed his energy at establishing and growing his own label, Mi Sueño, as well as several small production wineries who share his vision of producing quality wines made with great passion and love. With the help of 15 to 20 employees, Mi Sueño now produces 5,500 cases a year, most of which are purchased by restaurants, wine clubs, and other wineries.

Rolando recently received the great honor of having several of his handcrafted wines served at a recent White House State Dinner in honor of Mexican president Felipe Calderon. It turns out that President Calderon is from the same town in Mexico as Rolando and his family. It is truly a great honor and a testament to Rolando's hard work and exceptional winemaking skills.

If there is one old adage about the wine business that we have found to be true, it is that great wine starts in the vineyard. Good vineyard sources and healthy vineyard management relationships are the foundation of any great winery. Given our small production, it is important for our growers to share the same passion and desire to produce the finest wines possible. Since we founded the winery, we have been fortunate to have developed fantastic relationships with several key growers in both Napa and Sonoma County.

Please come and taste Longfellow Wines in a sleek and sophisticated environment at Vintner’s Collective located in historic downtown Napa. Vintner’s Collective features Longfellow Wines as well as several other small production boutique wineries. Vintner’s Collective is a select group of boutique Napa Valley vintners who share tasting room space. We were lucky enough to build our business in Napa’s oldest commercial building, an 1875 Italianate former saloon and brothel. This place is as much a part of who we are as the wine and people it brings together. We are our Vintner’s advocates, and their biggest fans. We are our customer’s friends and guides, opening Napa Valley’s doors to them. We have a team of wonderful and talented people working with us, three wine clubs, and members we adore. Winemaker dinners, release parties, a Napa guesthouse, and a concierge service are part of what we offer our friends and members.