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Napa Valley Grape Grower Round Pond Estate Builds Namesake Brand

March 9, 2015

Long known as a supplier of Napa Valley grapes to other wineries, Rutherford-based Round Pond Estate has been ratcheting up its own winemaking activity in recent years, an effort that has yielded impressive growth and a rising profile.

Beginning as a grape grower in the early 1980s, Round Pond began producing its own wines in 2002. As recently as 2008, the winery—which has 360 acres planted to grapes on its 460-acre estate—sold only about 1,000 cases. The following year, however, co-proprietors Ryan and Miles MacDonnell drafted a plan to markedly grow the estate’s wine production, with the goal of eventually sourcing half its vineyards’ grape output for its own wines.

Last year, using about 35% of the estate’s grapes, the Round Pond brand reached 25,000 cases, leveraging an increased presence in the restaurant segment, including by-the-glass and bottle listings with the Fleming’s steakhouse chain. “Three years ago we were in about 17 markets. Now we’re almost fully national,” says Miles, noting that RNDC is the brand’s single biggest distributor partner, handling Round Pond in 14 states.

Round Pond’s portfolio includes its “workhorse” Napa Valley Kith & Kin Cabernet Sauvignon (retailing at $30) and a Rutherford Cab at $60, as well as a Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc at $24. This fall, it will introduce a Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon at $110, as well as a small-production vineyard-designate program called the Gravel Series.

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