Napa Valley AVA
At the age of fifty, a lifelong dream to make wine was finally realized
Founded by Paul and Marion Johnson in 2003, Fiftyrow Vineyards crafts limited amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon from the highly prized Rutherford AVA of California’s Napa Valley. The Fiftyrow Cabernet Sauvignon consistently displays that magical “Rutherford Dust” characteristic the area is so intrinsically known for. Some describe Rutherford Dust as a specific flavor - sometimes cocoa powder or chocolate, sometimes coffee. Others describe it with regard to texture - the unique dusty feeling of tannins that only a Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon can achieve. Whatever the ‘it’ factor is that makes Rutherford Dust so special, it is certainly a distinctive quality that makes these Cabernets so desirable.
It was Paul Johnson’s lifelong dream to make wine, and after living half of his life in Europe and having owned a wine shop for several years, he decided it was finally time to do something about it - and to do it before he turned fifty (therefore, the name ‘Fiftyrow’). His wife, Marion, was born and raised in the Rheingau region of Germany where wine is deeply rooted in the culture, and it was the European lifestyle of food and wine that first brought the couple to Napa Valley in 1998. During their visit, they immediately knew this was the perfect place to pursue their passion. They sought out friend and winemaker Gary Galleron, and together started Fiftyrow Vineyards in 2003. Their first release came in 2005. They also craft a collection of value-priced wines under the Smokescreen label that include a Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Red Blend from Anderson Valley and Carneros.
Gary Galleron was born in Rutherford, Napa Valley, on the street that bears his family name, Galleron Road. He grew up playing in the vineyards, practically with Rutherford Dust under his fingernails and Cabernet Sauvignon in his veins. His grandparents, French immigrants, Angele and Virgile Galleron, settled in the Napa Valley in 1918 and began the winegrowing legacy that Gary maintains today. Gary has worked on his family’s grape ranch in Rutherford since birth, learning every aspect of the wine industry, literally from the ground up. He has also made wines for some of the most prestigious names in Napa Valley including Whitehall Lane, Grace Family, Hartwell, Vineyard 29, Del Dotto, and Seavey. Gary has also established his own winery brand, Galleron. He has been the consulting winemaker for Fiftyrow since its first vintage.
In addition to their successful winemaking endeavors, Paul and Marion Johnson’s love of the European lifestyle led them to open a high end specialty food store, Baker & Olive, with a vast array of high quality oils and vinegars. There are currently four store locations between San Diego and Orange County.