Round Pond Estate
Napa Valley AVA
"Our goal is not to construct a personality for Round Pond wines, but to allow each Round Pond wine to find its own expressive voice.” Miles MacDonnell
For the brother and sister team of Miles and Ryan MacDonnell, the entry of Round Pond Estate into the ranks of upper-echelon Napa Valley wine producers is simply the prolongation of their generation into the world of winegrowing and winemaking.
Starting as early as 1978, the siblings’ father Robert began acquiring property in and around the central town of Rutherford in the very heart of the Napa Valley. By bits and pieces, obtained ownership of more than 366 plantable acres, a fact that made him one of the more important growers in the entire valley. For two decades, MacDonnell and his family sold their fruit to nearby wineries including Robert Mondavi, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards to name a few.
“Sometime around 1992,” recounted Miles MacDonnell, “we began making a little wine for us, but it was just a barrel or two. Our vineyard manager made the wine and we drank it amongst ourselves. At the time, we were selling all of our grapes to outside wineries.”
The number of homemade cases grew steadily until it reached around 200, but MacDonnell recalled that the wine was mostly “made for fun.” That all changed in 2001 when Miles returned to the family estate and saw an opportunity for developing quality standards for individual blocks of vineyards that his family owned. “We were basically custom growing for our clients and each wanted some individual characteristics for their vines that we were happy to provide. I saw that each one would take the grapes and make them into their own wines, and each one was different. We started making our own wines from each block we owned and we were able to compare them to the others from the same block. It was an incredible opportunity for us to learn from our customers and also provided the impetus for the development of Round Pond Estate into a commercial winery.”
For the record, Round Pond is named after a pond close to Lake Frederick in West Point, New York. Robert MacDonnell’s father taught at West Point and Robert recalled his favorite childhood watering spot as the perfect name for the family’s new winery venture.
The first release of around 950 cases of Round Pond Estate came in 2002, and was immediately received with great validation from both the wine industry press and consumers alike. The production has grown steadily over the past twenty years and will reach around 35,000 cases this year, the majority of which falls under Round Pond’s secondary label, “Kith & Kin.”
In 2007, Round Pond added a tasting facility and state-of-the-art winery complex to their incredible gardens scenario that made Round Pond one of Napa Valley’s premier destinations. The fact that it is located across the road from the iconic Caymus Vineyards on the Rutherford Crossroad makes the winery development easy to locate. The additional attraction of olive groves that produce high quality olive oils is added dressing to the already fabulous setting.
Miles MacDonnell admits that he does all the ‘fun stuff’ for the winery that includes all vineyard management (and also for the rest of the winery’s customers) and control of the production side of the Round Pond Estate business. His sister Ryan, a former investment banker in New York who is also a lawyer, is left with the job of selling and marketing the wines.
“We are still a small, family business,” MacDonnell concluded, “and Ryan and I are incredibly lucky to live and work with our family on family land. We grew up camping out in these vineyards, exploring the river, and riding four-wheelers up and down the valley. As a family, we enjoyed the farm-to-table lifestyle before it was fashionable and the philosophy is a perfect fit for our company, with its estate winery and olive mill.”
After more than forty years of growing some of the finest wine grapes in Napa Valley, and twenty years of crafting their own estate wines, the MacDonnell family remains dedicated to their time-honored traditions and goal of creating pure, expressive wines from the heart of Napa Valley.
It is a pleasure to present Round Pond Estate to our Platinum Wine Club members this month. Enjoy!
Map of the area
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
We truly hope you enjoy our Round Pone Estate flagship wine...the beautiful 2017 Rutherford Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. A true reflection of that signature Rutherford dust, this Cabernet Sauvignon embodies an Old World meets New World style. The Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon is handcrafted entirely from our Rutherford Estate, sourcing from the top 5% of the property.
Round Pond Estate is a family-owned and operated winery, olive mill and vineyard covering 460 acres of land in the heart of Rutherford, which is in essence, the heart of Napa Valley. We are the largest contiguous vineyard in the AVA and supply 65% to 75% of our fruit to many of our fellow vintners, only keeping the top 30% for our own wine program. Alongside the vines, we cultivate orchards, gardens and olives and run one of only two olive mills in Napa Valley.
Our soils are considered some of the best in the entire Napa Valley and we do our part to ensure that quality continues. We practice sustainable farming and are certified ‘Napa Green’ and a ‘Fish Friendly’ operation due to our proximity to the Napa River and Conn Creek. Stewardship of the land that we ourselves live on along with our children is of the utmost importance, and we certainly believe that is expressed in the bottle.
We invite you to enjoy one of our exceptional tasting and/or culinary experiences at Round Pond Estate next time you are in Napa Valley. An experience I promise you will never forget!
Without any further ado...please pop that cork and enjoy!
Round Pond Estate Vineyards & Winery
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
Our parents, Bob and Jan MacDonnell, purchased their first parcel of Napa Valley land in 1980 and today our family owns over 400 acres, all in the Rutherford AVA. By 1986, mom and dad were producing primarily Cabernet Sauvignon grapes that they sold to some of the valley’s most famous wineries including Beaulieu, Grgich Hills, Freemark Abbey, Franciscan, and others. From these early wines made in nearby wineries, our family learned that winemaking begins in the vineyard and that a commitment to produce top quality wines must include an integrated viticultural and winemaking program.
In 2002, our family decided to produce our first wine from several of our favorite Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard blocks. The success of this first vintage, and our commitment to producing world-class wines, resulted in the construction of our new, state-of-the-art winery, opened in July 2007.
Research at the University of California – Davis, confirmed through decades of first-hand experience farming our Rutherford property, has shown us that the soils and climate of Rutherford are perhaps the best possible for Cabernet Sauvignon. This "First-Growth" terroir has produced some of California’s most renowned wines. Our commitment to top quality wines and respectful stewardship of our land are the guiding principals of Round Pond.
We hope you enjoy our family’s best efforts and look forward to seeing you at Round Pond sometime soon.