Visit Wineries As Part of Supporting California Agriculture
August 12, 2013
Blending Art with Wine
Charter Oak Winery is a destination in Napa Valley where artisan meets artist. It represents a blending of wine and art under the auspices of family and tradition carried forth by four generations of the Ragghianti-Fanucci family.
Today, husband-and-wife duo, Robert and Layla Fanucci, helm the stunning Charter Oak Winery in St. Helena, Calif., where they create and produce their award-winning wines and world-class art at this one-of-a-kind, historic property.
|The unique Tasting Room at Charter Oak Winery with surrounding art.|
A true family business, Charter Oak Winery was inspired by Robert Fanucciʼs grandfather, Guido Ragghianti, an immigrant from Lucca, Italy, who began making wine in his basement cellar in San Francisco in the 1920s using grapes sourced from the Napa Valley. Guido and his brother, Raffaello, purchased the Charter Oak property in 1950, where Robert and Layla, together with their three children, now operate the familyʼs winery.
Robert was influenced at an early age by his grandfatherʼs craft and has been making wine all his life. Yet it wasn’t until 1986 when he learned the entire winemaking process from start to finish. That year, Guido handed down his skills to his grandson, from picking the ripe fruit, crushing, fermenting, pressing and placing the wine in the barrels to topping, racking and blending wines. After the harvest that year, Guido passed away.
Robert carried on his grandfather’s winemaking tradition, starting his own label in 1986 and then spending nearly a decade perfecting his handcrafted, artisanal process before sharing it with the world. In 1998, Robert released Charter Oak Wineryʼs first vintage and began selling small batches of the wines regionally.
Today Robert, together with son David, tend the grapes and winemaking year round, producing approximately 800 cases annually and distributing across the country, including to some of the most well-regarded restaurants in the U.S. Specializing in Zinfandels, Charter Oak wines have earned numerous awards and national recognition.
Charter Oak is also home to Layla Fanucciʼs art studio. Layla spends most days focused on her multi-scale work and splits her time painting in a spacious, screened-in porch or outside in a picturesque setting between two apple trees on property. Layla started her career as a beloved music teacher but now works full-time as an artist as her paintings began attracting worldwide attention. Her growing renown has led to a multitude of exhibitions and commissions.