John Terlato

Co-Owner & Vintner, Chimney Rock Winery

John Terlato

My goal is to craft wines that tell the tale of the place and to minimize the interference of man along the way.

In preserving and enhancing our land, we also preserve and enhance Napa Valley.

How many years have you been in the Napa Valley wine industry?

Over 30 years.

How did you get started in the wine business?

Our grandfather became involved in the wine industry in 1938. Our father then built the modern-day foundation of our business, so my brother and I grew up in the business. Our passion for the business just grew naturally from there.

What are the most rewarding aspects of your work?

Farming and caring for our vineyards and then connecting the dots between the land and extraordinary wines. My goal is to craft wines that tell the tale of the place and to minimize the interference of man along the way.

What are the greatest challenges?

Mother Nature of course – she enjoys throwing a curveball every so often. She can also draw us into her warm embrace in some vintages, which then causes her to also be our greatest ally.

Our motto at the NVV is "cultivating excellence." What does this phrase mean to you and how do you cultivate excellence at your winery?

Our family mantra of “quality endures” goes hand in hand with “cultivating excellence” and manifests itself in a number of ways. In our vineyards we focus on the health of the vine along with the quality and intensity of the fruit. In the winery, we focus on the details; every detail counts and no detail is too small to be overlooked.

What are you doing at your winery to help preserve and enhance Napa Valley for the future? (e.g., sustainable practices, family succession plan, community service, etc.)

Our sustainable farming and winemaking practices. It is equally important to let the world know that we are cognizant of and thoughtful in our farming and our stewardship of the land. Handing our vineyards to the next generation of Terlatos in better condition than they were received is the goal. In preserving and enhancing our land, we also preserve and enhance Napa Valley.

What advice would you offer someone trying to get into the Napa Valley wine industry?

Follow your passion. If you have a deep passion for wine and food, it can be an extraordinarily rewarding and interesting life path.

What's one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I love being in the vineyard. It’s the basis of everything we do. My goal is to know every detail of our vineyards and to be intimately aware of what those vineyards have to offer. I find walking the vineyards to be calming and provocative at the same time.