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Given that 95% of Napa Valley’s wineries are family owned and nearly 80% make less than 10,000 cases of wine per year, most wineries can be described as small, artisan producers. Our vintners share a commitment to blending historical practices and achievement with an eye toward innovation, quality and prosperity for the Napa Valley. Get to know second generation vintner, Ryan Hill of Hill Family Esates and his perspetive on the family business.
Ryan Hill, Proprietor, Hill Family Estate
How did you get started in the wine business?
“My dad has been farming grapes in the Napa Valley since the late 1970s. He currently manages 800 acres in the valley, and sells fruit to 40 different wineries. While growing up, Dad would have my sister Carly and I work in the vineyards during the summer. Prior to graduating from Sonoma State University, and after working at several fine-dining establishments in California, I decided to start making wine with the family. It’s the best decision I ever made.”
What are the most rewarding aspects of your work?
“The most rewarding aspect of my work is being in business with my family. Society is (and has been) entering a realm where corporations rule, and continually gobble up the small, family-owned businesses. To say that Hill Family Estate is 100 percent family-farmed, family-owned, and family-operated gives me a tremendous amount of pride.”
How does Hill Family Estate help tell the Napa Valley story?
“We’re farmers first and winemakers second. My dad continues to build upon his legacy as a premier grape grower in the Napa Valley. If one is lucky enough to sit around a table with my dad over a glass of wine, one will walk away with a better understanding of farming and how it has evolved over the last 40 years.”