You might think a former stockbroker—they are the highest stakes gamblers, after all—would always be looking for low risk, high return investments. But all you need to know about the projects Dick Grace has undertaken since arriving in Napa is that he’s never had a formal contract for any of them.
The first informal partnership was with Caymus, which made the Grace Family Vineyards’ wine from 1978 to 1986. In the late ’80s, Grace provided Cabernet Sauvignon budwood to Hartwell Estate Vineyards for its first acre of grapes. Hartwell’s wines were made at Grace until 1999. Likewise, Vineyard 29 planted its first three acres using Grace Family Vineyards Bosché clone Cab in 1989, and the wines were vinified at Grace’s winery until 1998. Jim Barbour, who planted the original one-acre of vines at Grace Family Vineyard in 1976, established his own vineyard, in 1992, using cuttings from Grace, and his first few vintages were also made there. The most recent such arrangement is with Blank Vineyard. The Blank Vineyard is located in Rutherford, very close to Caymus. The Grace’s have made and marketed this wine, and the first release was the 2001 vintage. These wines display what is commonly referred to as the characteristic Rutherford Dust. It is always most interesting to have Blank and Grace side-by-side as it is a great insight into the profound effects of terroir. What all have in common is the Bosché clone and a Napa Valley location. And a handshake.