Gratitude is buzz word you hear everyday. With our fast paced lives, gratitude and thankfulness is something we often forget to acknowledge. Taking the time out of our busy schedules to acknowledge what we are grateful for, can bring on immense feelings of contentment and peace. Thomas Wargovich takes gratitude to heart and has named his winery Gratus Vineyards.
Thomas Wargovich comes from a family of doctors and scientists who often use Latin to banter back and forth. Thomas wanted to tie that family heritage into the idea of being grateful for all the bounty that surrounds them. The Latin word gratus means thankfulness or gratitude.
For Tom, gratitude begins with his immigrant parents and grandparents whose devotion, sacrifices and hard work has allowed for him to experience the American Dream. Gratitude also lies in the exceptional land and the natural beauty of Pope Valley.
Thomas is originally from Pennsylvania and is a retired cardiologist. He had a lifelong passion for horticulture and hence he graduated with a degree in Botany and Biology from West Virginia University. Later on he went to medical college.
On a trip for a medical meeting, Thomas fell in love with Napa Valley and its agricultural paradise. Thomas purchased a beautiful 27 acre secluded property in the Pope Valley AVA and began planting his own garden of Eden. Over the years Thomas transformed the land into an arboretum and vineyards.
He planted 10 acres of Bordeaux and Rhone varietals and went to school for viticulture and enology at Napa Valley College. Shortly thereafter Robbie Meyer joined the team as winemaker and produced their first vintage in 2012 with 75 cases. Gratus is a boutique winery that is family run and making small production wines. Only 600 cases are produced currently. The wines are exceptional and high quality and worth seeking out.
Its premium estate grown wines include a Red Blend (at least 75% Cabernet Sauvignon with Malbec and Petite Sirah), a 100% varietal Malbec, and a 100% varietal Petite Sirah. This year’s bottling (2016 vintage) included the first production of a 100% varietal estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Additionally, Gratus offers a unique White Blend of Rhone varietals (Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier).
What makes Gratus Vineyards so special is the time spent with Thomas and chatting about how the wines are made. Taking in the picturesque views of Pope Valley can make for an exceptionally unique experience. Pope Valley is a quieter part of Napa that is slightly off the beaten path but definitely worth exploring.
2017 Gratus White Blend – 200 Cases Produced (SRP $29) This gorgeously aromatic wine is a blend of Southern French varietals of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, and Viognier. The wine is bright, crisp and fresh with notes of pear, citrus and herbs. The wine is versatile and will be perfect to pair with a variety food. My favorite pairings would be spicy Asian cuisines or curried chicken salad. One sip of this wine will leave you savoring for more.
2015 Gratus Estate Malbec – 50 Cases Produced (SRP $55) I was most excited to try this one, as Malbec is not the main red varietal for Napa Valley. 100% Malbec, the wine is medium bodied with nice smooth tannins and black fruit. The rustic characteristic on this wine beg for a big flavorful dish. Grilled lamb or spicy sausage would be the perfect accompaniment.
2015 Gratus Petite Sirah – 25 Cases Produced (SRP $45) This is a fantastic Petite Sirah. It is bold yet rustic with wild ripe blackberry and hints of baking spice, It is well-balanced with nice acidity, fruit and smooth tannins. It will pair perfectly with grilled meats, charcuterie and hard cheeses.