Frequently Asked Questions
When was Stony Hill founded and by whom?
In 1943 San Francisco advertising executive Fred McCrea and his wife Eleanor bought 160 acres of homestead land on the west slope of the Napa Valley north of St. Helena. They began planting Chardonnay grapes in 1947 followed shortly by plantings of Pinot Blanc, White Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Semillon. Their first harvest was in 1952, and they sold their first Chardonnay in 1954.
Peter and Willinda McCrea, the founders’ son and daughter-in-law, inherited Stony Hill in 1991 when Eleanor died and continue to run the business today.
Where does the name come from?
The name Stony Hill popped into their heads as the stones kept welling up out of the dirt as they cultivated their first Chardonnay vineyards in 1947.
Where is Stony Hill located?
The vineyards are nestled on the northeast slope of Spring Mountain, 600 to 1280 feet above the floor of the Napa Valley. The area is heavily forested with Douglas fir, native oaks and coast redwoods, and watered by numerous springs. Cool coastal breezes and fog influence the unique microclimate between Lyman and Ritchie Creeks, and rocky, volcanic soils stress the vines so that they produce small yields of intensely flavored fruit.
What are Stony Hill’s key vineyard practices?
Fish-Friendly Farming Certificate
Napa Green Certificate
Erosion control plans and methods
Alternate row cultivation
How many acres of grapes are planted and what are the varieties?
#1 = 5.3
#2 = 3.1
#4 = 2
#5 = 2.3
#6 = 3.5
Total= 22.8 acres
#3 = 2.7
#8 = 1.8
#9 = 1.2
#LH = .35
#UH = .35
#6 = .2
#5 = 1.
#11 = 1.5
Total= 4.25 acres
#7 = 1.2 acres
5.67 acres (not commercial)
Total: 39.97 acres grapes
What budwood does Stony Hill use?
Chardonnay from Wente clone
Semillon from Chateau d’Yquem via Wente Vineyards collected by Charles Wetmore in the 1880s
White Riesling from Martini vineyards
Who is the winemaker?
Winemaker Mike Chelini came to Stony Hill in 1972, first as vineyard foreman and assistant winemaker, assuming full winemaking responsibilities when Fred died in 1977. Since then Mike has overseen both vineyard and winery operations, supervising six full time, year-round employees who hand tend the vines and hand pick the grapes. Recently Mike incorporated Napa County’s Fish Friendly Farming and Napa Green practices in the vineyards.
What is Stony Hill’s average production per year?
Stony Hill has averaged 3,400 cases between 2000 and 2009.
When was the first vintage?
What is Stony Hill’s winemaking philosophy?
Winemaking today at Stony Hill continues the philosophy that Fred and Eleanor McCrea established when they crushed their first grapes in 1952. We believe, as they did, that the character of the wine is determined primarily by the unique qualities of our hillside grown grapes. Our goal is to translate the grapes’ intense fruitiness into elegant and age-worthy wines.
When are our wines ready to drink?
People always ask us when our wines are ready to drink. Based on our experience, we find that if a wine has been cellared at a constant sixty-degree temperature, it will reach its prime in five to ten years. But since each vintage develops at a slightly different rate, and some people prefer young fresh wines while others prefer mature, rich wines, we leave that decision up to the individual taster.
How and where does Stony Hill sell its wine?
Direct mail to customers in reciprocal and permit states. (click here for details)
Through broker to CA restaurants and retailers
Distributors in AZ, CO, DC, IL, LA, MA, MD, MO, NV, NY, VA
Does Stony Hill offer tours and tastings?
Yes. Click here for details.