Our Family Tradition
The McCreas have been proprietors of Stony Hill since the summer of 1943 when Eleanor and Fred McCrea purchased the property. They were the visionaries who created a beautiful wine estate out of an old goat ranch and in so doing were pioneers in the rebirth of the Napa Valley wine industry following Prohibition and World War II. Peter, Fred and Eleanor’s son, grew up working in the vineyard and winery as a teenager, and he shares his parents’ sense of pride in the property and the wines. Willinda immersed herself in the industry starting in 1989, and when Eleanor died in 1991 she became a proprietor along with Peter. Today their children, Frederick and Sarah, and Fred’s wife Courtney, while working in finance and marketing in San Francisco, are active participants on the board of directors, insuring continuity between the second and third generations of McCreas.
Mike Chelini arrived at Stony Hill in 1971 with his wife, Kathy, first as vineyard foreman, and then as winemaker. Mike worked closely with Fred until his death in 1977, at which time Mike assumed full responsibility for both vineyard and winery operations. In his thirty-five years at Stony Hill Mike has established a reputation as one of the finest winemakers in the Napa Valley. He and his wife, Kathy, have raised their three children on the ranch.
Stony Hill’s six full-time, year-round vineyard employees come from three large families in El Llano, Michoacan, Mexico. Alejandro Salomon, vineyard foreman, found his way up to Stony Hill in 1982 making him a 28-year veteran of ranch life. Following in 1988 were Jose Ayala, commonly known as Pancho Jr., and brothers Jose and Alejo Rodriguez, giving each of them 22 years at Stony Hill. Juan Salomon, Alejandro’s brother, joined the crew in 1993, and the latest addition to our team of six, in April, 2007 is Alejo Rodriguez-Salomon, Alejo Rodriguez’ son, born and educated here in California.
The ever efficient, knowledgeable and cheerful Courtney Murray-Cortez runs our office and acts as our customer relations person. Born and raised in the Napa Valley she’s had extensive experience in the wine industry. Spending a majority of her career traveling, she now works closer to home where she resides with her husband and their two small children.
These are the people we are indebted to for growing the Stony Hill grapes, making the lovely wines and keeping our customers happy, satisfied and coming back for more.