Antonio Perelli-Minetti is our patriarch who immigrated from Italy in 1902 and was the first winemaker in California to hold a winemaking degree. He is considered to be one of the most important figures in California's winemaking heritage. His daughter Conchita Perelli-Minetti had a son named William (Bill) Harrison, who continues the tradition of quality winemaking, now in the Napa Valley.
Bill Harrison grew up at his grandfather's winery in the San Joaquin Valley. After earning a Bachelors degree at the University of Santa Clara, and an MBA at U.C. Berkeley, he served for two years as an Armor Officer in the First Infantry Division.
In 1966 Bill began working for the California Wine Association (CWA), a company owned by his grandfather and his grandfather's sons. There he held various wine sales and marketing positions in New York, New England, the Southwest and California.
In1978 Bill moved to the production side of the winemaking business as Operations Manager at his Grandfathers winery, A. Perelli-Minetti & Sons. This million-case winery was producing table wine, dessert wine, sparkling wine, vermouth and brandy. In the early 1980's both the California Wine Association and A. Perelli-Minetti & Sons were sold. Bill Harrison decided to start his own company based on the concept of providing wineries with a mobile bottling service. At the same time, Bill moved to the Napa Valley and founded the Rutherford estate which today is the location of our winery. Bill's company, Estate Bottling, is still providing the specialized service that many new small wineries depend on.
In 1993 after years of selling grapes from his Rutherford estate, Bill released the first wine under his own label. We now enter our 19th vintage of Wm Harrison Estate Wines, carefully crafting classic wines which we hope would make our forefathers proud.
The Rutherford sub-region of Napa Valley centers on the town of Rutherford and covers some of Napa Valley’s finest vineyard real estate, spanning from the Mayacamas in the west, to the Vaca Mountains on the other side of the valley.
Inside of the Rutherford AVA, bordering the Mayacamas, is a stretch of uplands called the Rutherford Bench. (These bench lands technically run the length of Oakville as well). Mountain runoff creates deep, well-drained, alluvial soils on the bench, giving vine roots plenty of reason to permeate deep into the ground. The result is wine with great structure and complexity.
Rutherford Cabernet Sauvingons and Bordeaux Blends garner substantial attention for their enticing fragrances of dusty earth and dried herbs, broad and juicy mid-palates and lush and fine-grained tannins. The sub-appellation claims some of the valley’s most prized vineyards today, namely Caymus, Rubicon and Beckstoffer Georges III.
It is also home to Napa’s most influential and historic personalities. Thomas Rutherford, responsible for the appellation's name, made serious investments here in grape growing and wine production between the years of 1850 to 1880. Gustave Niebaum purchased a large swath of land and completed his winery in 1887, calling it “Inglenook.” Today this remains the oldest bonded winery in California. Georges Latour founded Beaulieu Vineyard in 1900, making it the oldest continuous winery in the state. Latour also hired the famous enologist, André Tchelistcheff, a man credited for single-handedly defining the modern Napa winemaking style.
Cabernet Franc, a proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon, is the subtler and more delicate of the Cabernets. Today Cabernet Franc produces outstanding single varietal wines across the wine-producing world. Somm Secret—One of California's best-kept secrets is the Happy Canyon appellation of Santa Barbara. Here Cabernet Franc shines as a single varietal wine or in blends, expressing sumptuous fruit, savory aromas and polished tannins.