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Vella is named after the famous cheese-making family. It was also our first vineyard planted with newer French clones and rootstocks.
Vella Vineyard takes its name from the famous Sonoma Valley family who founded and still operate the Vella Cheese Company. Thomas Vella was born in Sicily and immigrated to America in 1922. He arrived in Sonoma shortly thereafter to join his brother Joseph who had already established the Sonoma Mission Creamery.
Tom worked for his brother as a truck driver delivering milk and eggs to the ferries headed to San Francisco until he started making cheese in 1931 under the Bear Flag brand which continues today at the Vella Cheese Company.
Tom purchased the property in the 1960s from the Cabral family who had a dairy on the property. He rented the land to the Ferriera family who continued to operate the dairy and cultivate hay fields. The land was also briefly farmed in organic vegetables.
Located adjacent to the Sangiacomo’s Catarina Vineyard, the Sangiacomo family eyed the rich soils for decades, hoping someday to be able to farm it. In 1997 their wish came true when Tom Vella, then in his nineties, wished to round out his career by becoming a farmer. He hashed out a deal with his old friend Ang Sangiacomo for a 45-year lease for the 120-acre property. The lease still stands today.
Planted in 1997, Vella Vineyard is one of the Sangiacomo’s biggest vineyards and was the first of their vineyards to be planted with newer French clones and rootstocks. Rodgers and Fowler Creeks run through the vineyard. Soils are Zamora silty loam and Wright loam. The vineyard is planted with fifteen combinations of clones and rootstock. More than twenty wineries source grapes from Vella Vineyard.
Certified Sustainable (CSWA)
Planted Acreage: 100
Varietals: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
Appellations: Carneros and Sonoma Coast