Charter Oak Winery is a gem of Napa Valley. Like many other wineries in the valley it began as a small family operation. While it’s grown since its founding in the early 20th century by Italian immigrant Guido Ragghianti, Charter Oak is still family run, by Guido’s grandson Robert Fanucci, who continues to use much of Guido’s original equipment and techniques today.
Charter Oak wine is unrefined and unfiltered. The grapes are fermented on natural yeast. Rob uses tools crafted by his grandfather (Nonno in Italian) to punch down the cap three times a day. He works the must into a foaming lather. No one makes wine quite this way. He believes the secret to their success is the natural fermentation and the punch down of the cap with hand-made wooden tools, which is done religiously over and over. There is nothing quite as beautiful than to see the sun shining down on the purple grape juice as it bubbles to the top. Rob lives for this and it nourishes his soul.