Evolution of Charbono


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” (apologies to C. Dickens!).

It was 1986, my grandparents had passed away, and the family had to make some hard decisions. We had almost five acres of an old varietal (Burger/Monbadon) that no winery wanted. A sad day it was when the tractors came to remove the old vines.

With that done, what to plant? Instead of Cabernet Sauvignon like everyone else, we decided to revive an old, rare, and neglected varietal, Charbono...


In 1987, the young Charbono vines were climbing up their stakes. One stake per vine, just like in the “old country”. My Grandfather would have said, “if you’re gonna do it, do it right”. His words have stood my test of time; from the decision to grow organic all the way to a  winemaking philosophy that calls for time consuming procedures and the very best oak barrels. “if you’re gonna do it, do it right”...


It did not take long for the Charbono vines to prove themselves. An excellent Napa Valley site and an awesome varietal!  Soon sought after by Turley Wine Cellars and Schrader Cellars for stand alone vineyard bottlings. Meanwhile, our winery marked some special “cream of the crop” rows for my limited estate Charbono...


It was the fall of 2000 when I felt that the Charbono vines were mature enough for their first vintage. With the help of Thomas Brown we kicked around different ideas for fermentation methods and barrel types. He appreciated my natural winemaking methods and we both decided on French oak as the best method for aging. Truly a pleasure helping those grape bunches become wine!

1987 is now a long time ago. The baby Charbono vines have become wizened old creatures (some days that describes me too!). I’m proud of my role in helping to give Charbono wines the credit they deserve and right now I’m especially proud of our most recent offering...

“One of the finest examples of this variety out there is the 2015 Charbono from Vince Tofanelli. This sings on the palate and is seriously well made. Impressive.”

93 points - Jeb Dunnuck

120 cases produced

“if you’re gonna do it, do it right”