Wine Geek: Getting to Know Stony Hill Winery

I’ve got a thing for family-owned wineries (Rudd, Arkenstone, Spottswoode — I’m talking to you) so I was looking forward to trying the new releases from Stony Hill wines.

Stony Hill’s McCrea family just celebrated their 60th anniversary producing Napa Valley wines. Owners Fred and Eleanor McCrea bought a 160-acre goat ranch in 1943. At that time there were only 200 acres of Chardonnay grapes planted in California. The couple’s land was a western facing slope, had a 1,200-foot elevation and a mild microclimate…ideal options for growing Chardonnay grapes. The McCreas decided to plant most of their ranch with Chardonnay grapes—a move that’s been said to have started the rebirth of the Napa Valley wine industry following Prohibition and World War II. A few years after their first planting Fred and Eleanor built a small winery on their property and produced their very first vintage of Stony Hill Chardonnay.

Sixty years later, Fred and Eleanor McCrea’s son, Peter, his wife, Willinda, and their two children, Frederick and Sarah, are still making Stony Hill wine.

I really love all of Stony Hill wines but in a recent tasting the Chardonnay and Cabernet stood out from the pack (a great white and red option for a party).

The Details:

  • 2009 Stony Hill Chardonnay— $42 per bottle/2,000-3,000 cases
  • 2010 Stony Hill Gewürztraminer— $24 per bottle/300 cases
  • 2010 Stony Hill Riesling—$27 per bottle/400 cases
  • 2009 Stony Hill Cabernet Sauvignon—price not yet determined/250 cases

 The Technical Stuff:

These wines are food friendly! The winemaking team crushes and presses the fruit with minimum skin contact.  The juice is then fermented in neutral oak barrels, most of which are over ten years old, which allows the wine to develop and mature without absorbing an oak flavor component that could mask the natural fruit. Additionally, this aging method helps to avoid a secondary fermentation, allowing the wine to maintain its original acid structure and protect the inherent citrus and apple flavor components of the Wente clone.

Party Notes:

Pair the Stony Hill with these cheese suggestions.


Disclosure: While we get approximately 50 percent of products sent to us as samples we only write about the ones we like 100 percent of the time.


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