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TIERRA ROJA AND THE PLOW

“The plow is the symbol of labor and tillage of the soil.  Without labor, neither labor nor wisdom can accomplish much.”

These words, which open each meeting of the FFA (Future Farmers of America) serve as a sort of mantra for Tierra Roja Vineyards.  The plow on the label ties together the history of this property and the hard work that continues to go into every bottle today.

It starts with the land.

At left you see Al Denatale’s Dad farming this property with horse and plow back in the 1920s.  The picture of the actual plow was not clear enough for the label, so Clare found one that was reminiscent of a Sears and Roebuck catalogue that might have been the source back in those days.

Today we don’t plow. We use cover crops to preserve and enrich the soil.  But everything is still done by hand on the terraces.

Tierra Roja, the ranch of the red earth, became the obvious name when we first cut open the terraces.  The soil was such a brilliant red that even from the other side of the valley it would make you say “WOW!”. 

We were considering that we might make our own wine and what that name might be, when The Wine Enthusiast magazine featured the vineyard sign in their article honoring Oakville as the Appellation of the Year 2004.  How could we think of changing the name after that?  It seemed a message from God to proceed! 

But the wine had to be wonderful.  We made wine in secret for three years, until we were sure that we would bring an exceptional wine to the market on a consistent basis.