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Michael Baldacci
May 18, 2016 | Michael Baldacci

“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

This month Baldacci Family Vineyards celebrates Land Stewardship. How can we talk about land stewardship without speaking about John Muir, the original steward of the land. John Muir’s spirit lives through all of us in California, as he was a proponent for conserving California’s natural treasures, especially Yosemite



Personally I have heard about John Muir my whole life, starting in 4th grade when we learned about California history, to when my grandparents took us to Yosemite. I have heard the name and understood what he stood for since I can remember… but I have to admit, I wasn’t fully aware of the impact he has had on ALL National Forests until more recently. 


Yosemite National Park  Yellowstone National Park Muir Woods National Monument


Have you ever laid eyes on the beautiful Yosemite Valley, Yellowstone, Muir Woods, or any National Forest or Park? If the answer is yes, which I hope it is, then you can thank John Muir’s tireless efforts to make this possible. His passion for the land and preserving the land lead him to start the Sierra Club, which is still active today. The club made efforts to switch the ownership from state held land to a federally run and organized group that was tasked with maintaining and growing the beauty of our National ‘Natural’ Monuments



The United States is a beautiful piece of land with a lot to offer, from the amazing beaches stretching both coasts, to the mountain tops of the Sierra’s and a little place in the middle of California called Napa Valley. There is so much to be admired about this country. John Muir made great efforts and started something that had never been done in the world! He pushed for preservation of this land, and at the time it seemed far fetched that anyone would want to change the natural scape of our land, but as the country now continues to grow, we can thank John Muir and the Sierra Club for their efforts. Next time you are in a National Park, remember who started it, our good friend and Californian at heart…John Muir.



Michael Baldacci
April 1, 2016 | Michael Baldacci

Music to My Ears


Art. What is it? Is it a beautiful picture painted by a wonderful artist? Or the more modern form which oddly enough involves chairs more often than not… 



Art takes many forms, the one that I enjoy the most is music. I think that musicians and bands in particular are the ultimate artists. Creating sound and playing together involves not only the talent to perform, but timing and precision over and over and over again to keep the sound consistent.  



Wine has brought many opportunities to my life most include traveling to places I had never seen before. But one of the coolest and most unique experiences I had through working in the wine industry, was seeing John Legend perform live. My brother and I attended Auction Napa Valley last year and while there were rumors, we did not want to get our hopes up. After a bit of Instagram stalking of his wife Chrissy Teigen, we were confident that John Legend was in the Napa area… As the auction rolled on, I was getting antsy, I almost got up and left but then the lights dimmed and the crowd hushed. Out of nowhere a piano came on stage and John Legend followed. The venue was tiny, less than 500 people, not a bad seat in the house. I could not believe it, we were going to see John Legend perform live, just him and the piano. His most famous song was “All of Me” and sure enough that was exactly what he played. Perfect tune of the piano paired beautifully with the pitch in his voice, no one could take their eyes off this amazingly unique experience. John Legend, a beautiful white piano and a room full of people awe struck at the talent on stage.



Performing live and opening a bottle of a wine you have worked on I think would bring similar emotions. Performing live you have the rush of the crowd, but also a bit of nerves, you have practiced over and over and now it is time for everyone else to be the judge of your song. When you open a bottle of wine that you have watched grow from grape to barrel aging now to bottle, it can give you an amazing rush, but also bring out some butterflies… I think the wine is great, I sure hope everyone else thinks the same way about it. I will never know the feeling of performing live, but I would like to think that performers and I have something in common.


Art takes on many forms, none better or more significant than the other. Art in the form of music is my personal favorite, and it NEVER hurts to have a good bottle of wine with you to maybe help you appreciate it even more. 


Michael Baldacci
February 26, 2016 | Michael Baldacci

Berserk for Gewurz


Premiere Napa Valley celebrates 20 years, and Baldacci Family Vineyards decides to show the world their Gewurztraminer.

Premiere Napa Valley is an annual auction put on by the Napa Valley Vintners to raise money for the association that helps to build and protect the Napa Valley. It is an auction that we look forward to participating in every year. The auction is only open to the trade; anyone with a license to re-sell our wines can purchase a ticket… no consumers allowed!!

It is a week full of activities and tastings, it’s a great way to see old friends in the industry as well as meet new ones. Cabernet is the focus of the week, most wineries show off new releases, or bring out older vintages to show how well the wines can age, but the common thread is Cabernet Sauvignon.



This year Baldacci Family Vineyards decided to be a little different. We wanted to grab the attention in another way, by pouring something typically not found at the auction, Gewurztraminer.  A dry white wine to cut through the Cab that everyone has been drinking all week will definitely grab their attention and raise eyebrows… it worked! We have always known that our Gewurztraminer was a unique and well liked wine, but on such a small scale. A wine that was not well known, but after this weekend, this wine is known!

Premiere Week is always a blast, but this year we had a bit more fun with our lot than normal. Check out the video to see the Napa Valley’s best attempt at pronouncing Gewurztraminer… oh yeah and me in a magnificent pair of Lederhosen. 



Michael Baldacci
January 21, 2016 | Michael Baldacci

Going Green, Napa Green!


The great part about growing grapes, or any fruit for that matter, is that next year you have a clean slate. The grapes are picked, the vine goes dormant, and the vineyard team now strategizes on how to make improvements in the vineyard. What things went right? What things went wrong? What practices do we want to change next year? Sometimes the vineyard improvements come from tasting the wines, and making changes to things such as canopy management or timing of harvest. Other times it comes from our continued dedication to be stewards of the land, to give back what we take, and 2016 is one of those years. 



We have made a commitment as a team that we are going to continue our sustainable practices, but also begin the process of becoming a Napa Green certified vineyard. It is a voluntary environmental certification program for Napa County vineyards and wineries tailored to the Napa River watershed, and to winery specific practices that when implemented will have a positive affect for the local environment and community. We are excited that a lot of the practices are already things that we do, but our certification will bring the NVV (Napa Valley Vintners) one winery closer to their 2020 Initiative of having all of their participating wineries and vineyards be Napa Green Certified.

Stay tuned for updates! Happy New Year!!  



Michael Baldacci
October 9, 2015 | Michael Baldacci

That's A Wrap!


The 2015 harvest was unlike any other harvest, this blog gives me a chance to reflect on what was, and what will become of the 2015 harvest.



This year was my 4th harvest at my family’s winery, and I have to say that it was quite memorable.  The unusual weather through the growing season pushed everything up a month. With the unique weather during harvest everything was condensed to about a 1-month practice, when a typical harvest lasts from 6-8 weeks. We had a heat spike right in the middle of September that gave us the hottest days of the year during a period of grape maturation that essentially microwaved the grapes and ripened them 4 weeks ahead of schedule. I will argue that the heat spike will define the 2015 vintage in a GREAT way. 



Every year has its own characteristics, and I have learned that this is what makes wine so much fun. You can never anticipate 100-degree weather right in the middle of harvest followed by rain. However, if every year were the same, all the wines would be the same and that is boring. I am here to tell you that the 2015 vintage may have been a struggle during harvest and was easily one of the quickest harvests, but I believe it will go down in history as one of the best tasting vintages for MANY years to come. The quick heat spike gave the wines some amazing tannins, and the acidity is already mouthwatering. You can never run from the amazing lush fruit that the weather in Napa provides, but this year unlike any other year will AGE and AGE and AGE. I am confident that if you have the patience to save some 2015 wines for 20-30 years, you will be happy that you did!




Now that everything is in the tanks…it’s time for a beer, because we all know the saying “it takes a lot of good beer to make GREAT wine.”


Michael Baldacci
July 23, 2015 | Michael Baldacci

Less is More


“The sun is out, the grill is hot, and the pool is luke…” a great line from one of my favorite actors Owen Wilson, in one of my favorite movies Meet the Parents. He is describing the day as he is about to entertain his guests, but to me it perfectly describes the summer days here in California. It always seems like the sun is out, the pool is luke, and the grill is ALWAYS hot. 



A lot of people pride themselves in their skills on the grills, while I do not want to sell myself short, I have mastered the art of direct and indirect heat, but in the end less is more. Nothing says summer like burgers, hot dogs and a baseball game. The key to all is fresh ingredients, patience on the grill and a good team like the Oakland Athletics to watch.



Sunday afternoon is a great time for my family to gather in the backyard, enjoy a 1:00 first pitch and begin a late lunch, early dinner type of meal. As I said less is more, this meal calls for limited prep time, and a cook time of about an inning and a half depending on how the A’s are swinging the bats. I like to get the grill going before any of the prep work has begun, consistent temperature is vital to a solid tasting burger or dog. It is important to have plenty of time to dial in the perfect temperature of 375 degrees, hot enough to get a good char, but also allows for a consistent cook all the way through without burning the outside.


Now comes the fun part, grilling, the patties should be set, the dogs are ready to cook, and now it is time to throw them on the grill. At the right temperature the burgers and dogs should be fairly straightforward and easy. Once the burger starts to curl up off the grill and show some browning underneath, it is time to flip, generally after about 6 minutes. At the same time you flip the burger, it is time to roll the hot dog on the other side. Two even cooking times will give you the perfectly balanced burger and dog. I usually like to throw the buns on with a couple of minutes left to warm up before serving, at the same time is it a good idea to ask around for the people who are looking to make it a cheese burger.

As the grill begins to heat up, that is the perfect time to get all of the ingredients prepared. Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, ketchup, mustard and relish are necessary for both hot dogs and burgers. With the core ingredients covered, I like to switch things up to give my guests some unforeseen and rarely used options when it comes to their hot dog and burger building. I love to throw in a couple of different mustards, including hot and sweet, Dijon and spicy mustard, in case the guest wants to spice it up. I have recently found that jalapenos on the hot dog are key for a nice kick of spice with a hint on sweetness. And while it is frowned upon by some burger enthusiasts, a good ole fashioned “Rodeo Burger”, which consists of a ridiculous amount of BBQ sauce and extra cheese, is usually enjoyed by at least one carnivore in the group!


Now comes the best part, cracking open a nice bottle of Elizabeth Pinot Noir, pouring enough for everyone to enjoy, allowing them to build their burger or dog and sit down just in time for a big A’s Rally!!



Michael Baldacci
June 18, 2015 | Michael Baldacci

A Championship Effort


As a DIE HARD sports fan I have cheered on my teams (Oakland Athletics, San Francisco 49ers and Golden State Warriors) for as long as I can remember. I have wanted to experience a championship season SOOO BADLY. Each of the teams have had their ups and downs but recently each team has had a year that gives me hope. Believing that this this will be the year but only to fall short and sadly breaking my heart. After so many let downs I began to question is all of this excitement and anticipation only to be let down worth it? Will a championship season mend all those wounds? I am here to tell you YES it will! Experiencing your team win a championship is truly the mountaintop of fandom.



On Tuesday night the Golden State Warriors won their first NBA championship in 40 years, and the first for any of my teams that I was of age to fully appreciate. I didn’t know how to react other than to scream at the top of my lungs, hug everyone around me and dance the night away. I had followed the team through all of the ups and downs, and when others doubted I stayed strong. This year that all paid off.  The Golden State Warriors are, and forever will be the 2014-2015 NBA Champions.


Winemaker, Rolando Herrera  The Baldacci Team Vticulturist, Garrett Buckland


Championship teams do not always materialize on the court or the field. Here at Baldacci Family Vineyards we have our own championship team.  Wine takes a total team effort: it starts in the vineyard, to the production team, and finally the sales and marketing team. Each part of the team works together, but separate, we need each piece of the team to do their job to the best of their ability, and together we put out a great product. Our team starts in the vineyards with Garrett Buckland our viticulturist. Each year he puts together a game plan for the vineyards and things to keep an eye on as the growing season evolves. More leaves when it is hot, more water at the right times, as well as proper oversight to maintain the health of the vines through all weather. From there Rolando Herrera takes the ball. Rolando has been the head of our winemaking team for the last 12 years and each year he creates wines that are a true reflection of all the hard work done in the vineyard. Once Rolando is finished crafting a wine that reflects the vineyards and the vintage it is passed on to the Sales and Marketing team to tell the complete story of that wine. Sharing the team effort it took for that wine to get to their glass.

As a member of the Baldacci Family I am proud to say that we have a championship team. We may not be given a championship trophy each year but being able to look at each bottle of wine and be proud about the hard work put in by everyone involved is just as rewarding and exciting.


Michael Baldacci
May 14, 2015 | Michael Baldacci

Family Traditions


Traditions for me always start with family, coming from a family of 6, we had many traditions that we cherished over the years. As you can imagine a lot of them included wine, but to most people's surprise there are plenty that did not include wine.

There are two traditions that stick out to me that as I reflect I think embody exactly who we are as a family.

1st: Annual Christmas morning Nerf Gun Battle. This tradition started 10 years ago when my dad surprised us all with a brand new Nerf guns. I have to say I had not picked up or seen a Nerf gun in at least 5 years, I had seen the commercials and thought “wow how far the guns have come…” but never did I see myself wielding one of those in an imaginary battle anytime soon. My dad felt the same way, and made out to change that, for the last ten years our Christmas mornings end with the new latest and greatest version of the Nerf Gun, and a battle amongst ALL. Every year was a different form of weaponry, from little pistols and axes that called for skilled hand-to-hand combat or short range firing, all the way to rifles that only worked with scouting and long-range surprise attacks on your enemy.  Competition amongst each other creates some of the most fun moments I can remember. While there are heated times on the battlefield, it always seems to end with big hugs, lots of laughs, and ALWAYS a cold bottle of bubbles at the end of the road, typically my favorite, Schramesburg Blanc de Blanc.  



2nd: Mom’s birthday. My brothers, my dad and I all recognize how special my mother is in our lives. She keeps us in line, is ALWAYS there for us, and is the world’s best listener… oh yeah and she has no problem talking sports with the best of them, especially Warriors basketball!!

With all of the amazing things she does for us, we know there is NO way to repay her, but we had to try. Three years ago my dad came up with the idea of doing "girly things" with her guys on her birthday. It was a great idea, having all boys did not allow for some of the spa days, or getting your nails done type of days. So every year the weekend of my mom's birthday is marked on the calendars, and we venture up to a hotel in Calistoga, and a "spa day" turns into all of us lounging and reading tabloid filled magazines together with a bottle of sparkles.  It is a great moment to celebrate my mom and all of the things she does for us, and gives the 6 of us a chance to all relax with each other.

Having a family business can blur the lines of family and business, which makes it so much fun. While I think we have done a great job as a family to try and keep them separate, it is these types of traditions that always remind us what it is to be a family first. The company and conversation we share is usually coupled by a great bottle of wine. Some of my favorite wines were made that much better by the people that shared in the tradition. As we grow older it is these traditions that continue to remind us how blessed we are, and to cherish these moments.


Michael Baldacci
March 4, 2015 | Michael Baldacci



March Madness, a term coined to describe the only emotion that a 64 team bracket can bring upon us as individuals. Each year, every team's record is reset to 0-0, with just one loss eliminating a team from competition. Every year, there are the teams that have been defined as the ‘favorite’, but inevitably there is the Cinderella Story that captures the hearts and minds of EVERYONE. Whether it is the Stephen Curry lead Davidson team that as a 10 seed went all the way to the Elite 8, or my personal favorite the 1990 LMU (my alma-mater, GO LIONS!) team that persevered through the sudden and tragic passing of their star player Hank Gathers, to make it all the way to the Elite 8!



This year Baldacci Family Vineyards will be putting our own spin on March Madness. We want to see which restaurants our fans like the most in the Napa Valley. The first round brackets will determine which restaurants from each of the 4 towns; Calistoga, St. Helena, Yountville and Napa, will move on to the final championship.

The Yountville bracket will consist of the amazingly fresh, and socially friendly foods of Lucy’s, the classic Italian dishes of famed Chef Michael Chiarello’s Bottega, a long standing favorite, Mustard’s Grill, with their famous pork chop, and the new kid on the block, Redd Wood, which is known for their artisan pizzas and amazing pasta dishes.

Napa will put forth some tough competitors with Oenotri dishing out its traditional southern Italian cuisine, ZUZU and their amazing Spanish tapas, longstanding restaurant La Toque, known for their foie gras, and finally Bounty Hunter, with their fantastic smoked meats and killer wine list!

St. Helena, our neighbors to the north, will have Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, a long standing local hot spot, my personal favorite, Farmstead, with Chef Stephen Barber at the helm serving up savory meats, poultry and fish, night after night, Cook with its simple yet elegantly styled food, and last but certainly not least, Market St. Helena, truly a locals' and tourists' favorite, featuring home-style meals including their delicious fried chicken.

We didn’t forget about Calistoga! This northern most town will be represented by Solbar, JoLe, Barolo, and my personal pick as the upset of the tournament, Busters Original BBQ...

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see which restaurants are slated against each other that day… A like gets you a vote for one restaurant while a comment will get you a vote for another… May the best restaurant win!!

Michael Baldacci
February 24, 2015 | Michael Baldacci

Premiere Napa Valley 2015 Wrap-Up


Premiere Napa Valley just wrapped up, and here is the brief breakdown of the week full of festivities, and the results of the auction.

Premiere Napa Valley, or “Premiere” as it is often referred to by vintners is an auction that is put on by our trade association the Napa Valley Vintners. The NVV’s mission statement is “to promote, protect, and enhance the Napa Valley appellation, our wines, vintners and community.” The auction raises funds for their annual budget, and it is a memorable week in the Napa Valley that every vintner looks forward to each year.

The auction is Saturday, but the week is full of fun events. As a winery we participated in a couple different ways. On Wednesday night, Kellie and I hosted three young sommeliers, or somms, for dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants Lucy’s. We appreciated the opportunity to pick their brains about trends they are seeing in the industry from the restaurant side. We are happy to report that we are in a good position, as people love to see Napa Valley on the lists, and specifically Stags Leap District.

Thursday and Friday night we poured alongside other vintners and showcased our wines for hundreds of trade members. For vintners this is a great way to build new contacts, continue existing ones and reconnect with old relationships. Trade includes, retailers, distributors and restauranteurs from all over the country, and even a small contingent from China.

Each vintner crafts a unique wine for the auction, they are wines that can only be purchased at the auction. Rolando once again crafted us an amazing wine, taking his favorite barrel of our “Brenda’s Vineyard” collection.

Michael Baldacci & Cyrus Hazzard from Total Wine

Saturday was the big day, with vintner arrivals at 8:30 AM, the tasting before the auction got kicked off promptly at 9:00 AM as anxious members of the trade filled the Culinary Institute of America to try as many of the 225 lots as possible. The wine showed beautifully, and was a perfect representation of our Stags Leap District Estate.

After tasting the wines all morning the auction finally commenced. We successfully wrapped up the event later that afternoon with the NVV raising just over 6 million dollars. Another record year for the vintners, and a success for everyone involved. We could not be more proud of the place we call home. Baldacci is honored to continuously participate in Premiere each year to support our beautiful community.  




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Getting ready for Memorial Day Weekend! Enjoy a glass of red wine, white wine and blue skies!
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Our vineyard guys enjoy the beautiful sunshine as they prepare for another great harvest!

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