It all started with an earthquake. In 1906 after the great San Francisco earthquake, a huge demand for workers to rebuild the city brought Joseph Ponti, Steve’s great uncle, from Italy to San Francisco. Shortly thereafter, Ponti became the superintendent and initial winemaker at the iconic Beaulieu Vineyards in Rutherford, where he stayed for 43 years. He made the first internationally recognized Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. In 1939 it won a gold medal at the Golden Gate International Exposition for his 1936 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Since that time, Cabernet Sauvignon has become synonymous with Rutherford and Napa Valley. Ponti’s nephew, Steve’s grandfather, Louis Tonella, joined his uncle at Beaulieu when he was just 17 and worked there for several years. Louis inherited from Ponti vineyards located in the Rutherford viticulture region and the tradition continues to today. Grape growing and wine production have been a part of Steve’s life and family history.
Bringing us to the present, we endeavor to continue this heritage and spirit with S. R. Tonella Cellars. Our purpose is simply to make history by crafting the best premium Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux varietals that represent the best of Rutherford and Napa Valley. S. R. Tonella Cellar’s aspiration is that our wine is shared to create some small but memorable piece of history with everyone who crosses paths with us.