A Wine

Brand

An Estate

in the making

A Vision

Realized

The Anchor of The 50 by 50 Vision

Is the Realization of a Never-Built Architectural Masterpiece Known as the 50 by 50

Sketch of Mies Van Der Rohe's 50 by 50 house design.

The 50 by 50 Estate is a twenty-three acre property situated southeast of the Atlas Peak AVA and north of the Wild Horse AVA. More specifically, it sits on the Monticello Road incline in the Wooden Valley of Napa, California. Starting at a roadside elevation of 830 feet, it meanders pleasantly down to 600 feet. The gentle slopes are covered with “forward gravelly loam”, a rich volcanic soil that drains well and lends itself perfectly to the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot varietals that are presently being planted there for the purpose of producing an exquisite, hand-crafted, biodynamically farmed, Bordeaux-style blend in the coming years.

Architecture

The anchor of the 50 by 50 vision is the realization of a never-built architectural masterpiece known as the 50 by 50. Centrally located on the flat basin of the 50 by 50 Estate, it is the true inspiration of our namesake. Designed over 60 years ago by the pre-eminent, 20th Century Modernist architect, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, this perfectly square design is clad in high tempered glass panels measuring 8 x 25 x 10 feet. Therefore, each clear glass wall is bisected by only one vertical, load-bearing post. The view from inside gives the occupants an uninterrupted, 360 degree panorama of the 50 by 50 Estate with it’s gentle slopes, giant live oaks, terraced rows of grape vines and the mountains beyond.

The Estate

Such an abode could only be sited on property where privacy is a fact of the geography. The many interior details of Mies’ vision should be completed by the fall of 2014. When completed, the 50 by 50 house will serve as the heart of the 50 by 50 Estate, available as a meeting place for tastings by appointment as well as being offered for special events and private celebrations. We will update those who visit this website with details of our progress and public schedule.

Weather

We at the 50 by 50 Estate are very excited that we are blessed with geological and microclimate advantages. Fog rolls in over the Palisades to the west of the property affording a cooling influence that extends our growing season and lets the grapes develop complex flavors. The hillside lie of the vine rows will make sure they drain well, stressing the vines, resulting in more intense fruit.

Growing Environment

The 50 X 50 Estate also has an abundance of non-aquifer water and can tap water from its prodigious mountain spring. A boulder-lined reservoir will help capture and store this most valuable resource. The many stately live oak trees will be kept in place sharing the land with the grape vines. Fruit trees and beneficial plants will be added at vineyard end rows. Every measure will be taken to keep the abundant 24 inches of topsoil in place. Pest management will consist of the use of predator insects, native birds, and plant and mineral-based organic soap applications.

Average Temperature and Rainfall

Annual: Hi 73.3 °F / Low 48.1 °F Rain in. 29.16

Growing Season: Hi 83 °F / Low 53.2 °F Rain in. 4.47

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Our Wines



Our Goal

Hopefully, our ambitious five year plan for releasing our first vintage of complex, Bordeaux-style Estate wine will stay on course. In the meantime, to launch our 50 by 50 brand, we are offering the 2012 Pinot Noir and 2013 Rose of Pinot Noir as current releases. The fruit for both wines was grown and harvested at Rodger’s Creek, in the Sonoma Coast AVA helmed by Randy Luginbill and Jonathan Gold, veterans with 30 years of experience. Rodger’s Creek vineyards are 12 years old and were formerly pasture land. The soils are a Kidd stony loam and our grapes came from vines on an approximately 9 percent slope at an elevation of 675 feet.

Why Pinot Noir?

I’m asked quite often why we are launching our brand with a Pinot Noir and a Rose of Pinot Noir. The answer is quite simply that I love the varietal. You might say I’m a Pinot Noir junkie. Gerald V. Casale PortraitIt’s true that Pinot Noir would never thrive in Wooden Valley so we went to one of the best locations in California to purchase our fruit where it does thrive – the Sonoma Coast."

Gerald V. Casale
Proprietor of The 50 by 50 brand

My Story

My love of Pinot Noir came later in life. When my band, Devo, signed with Warner Brothers Records in 1978, we left Ohio for the promise of California. In many ways it wasn’t at all what the exported myth promised, but it delivered as an explosive wake up call to food and wine. Commensurate with our “new wave” music revolution, there was a gang of new wave chefs inventing culinary dreams in California. I met restaurateurs Michael McCarty, Bruce Marder, Wolfgang Puck, Piero Selvaggio, Jeremiah Tower, and many more. I became a disciple of the new California cuisine and the California wines with which it was often paired. I attended an endless array of California winemaker dinners, meeting many of the best, and drank my way to knowledge.

I was young and my tastes were for the big, fruity, knock you back Cabernets and oaked up Chardonnays and Syrahs. Pinot Noir? Hmmmm. Devo toured the western world seven times over and by 1990, I had added Barbaresco, Barolo, Brunello and the Super Tuscans in Italy, and Vega Sicilia from Spain to my “go to” list. It wasn’t until a French promoter started opening some legendary DRC’s one long, gluttonous, 1990 night in Paris that the Pinot Noir light bulb went on in my head. Then came a temporary career and money freeze four years later. I begrudgingly gave California Pinot Noirs another try. They were cheap (e.g.$14.00) and in low demand. That’s when I had a bottle of 1989 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir with breast of duck. I was off and running and have never stopped.

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