This is Tulocay Winery in Napa Valley California. While many Napa wineries
make thousands of cases of wine. our Winery makes hand crafted, zinfandel,
cabernet , chardonnay, merlot and pinot noir from some of the finest
vineyards in Napa Valley, CA. It is a Napa winery much smaller and intimate.
Winery tour of our Napa valley property can be arranged.

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  In the media

From North Bay biz, "Hidden Gems: A World Away":

Bill Cadman, winemaker and owner of Tulocay Winery, moved to Napa in 1971 after noticing its wine quality was improving. “I grew up in Oakland, but not with wine. I was working at the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange when my boss and coworkers got me into it. We could buy a case of Bordeaux at 10 Minna Street for an affordable price.” And that was it — he decided to be where the action was.

“I got hired at Charles Krug because it was harvest and they’d hire anybody [because harvest is always short-handed],” he says. In 1972, they purchased property in Coombsville. Cadman worked at Clos du Val, Beringer and Heitz Cellars before a friend suggested he use the two outbuildings on his own property to make wine. He installed water and electricity, purchased the necessary equipment and was good to go. “It’s why we buy all our grapes,” he says. “I procrastinated buying vineyards, and I’m still waiting for the prices to go down.

“It was easier to start a winery back then,” he adds. “We liked it here because Napa was a backwater agricultural town. If you went to work in San Francisco and said you’d been in Napa, they’d think of the mental hospital. Napa wasn’t synonymous with wine until long after we got here. People were into jugs back then.”

He says Coombsville is still a lot like those days — very quiet, without any resorts or hotels. At night, there’s an occasional coyote howl. And there are a lot of quail, wild turkeys and deer running around.

The first wine Cadman produced was a 1975 Pinot Noir from Haynes Vineyard, and he’s used grapes from that same block ever since. (Ancien also uses Haynes Vineyard fruit). “One thing that led to the consistency in our Pinot Noir was that it’s come from the same family vineyard, managed by Fernando Delgado, this whole time. It’s sold to the same family winery,” he says. The result is truly lovely, with great acidity, a nose of cherries and red fruit with a hint of earth and a lively feel on the palate.

Up until now, he’s also purchased Chardonnay grapes from Haynes (among other vineyards), but this year, it will come from another Coombsville vineyard called D’Ambrosio.

The winery produces two labels of Chardonnay: Cadman and Tulocay. Cadman is steel fermented but has a lush, rounded mouthfeel, while the Tulocay label sees both new and neutral oak. Both are true reflections of where they came from — elegant, well balanced and absent of flab.

For Cabernet Sauvignon, he’s purchased grapes from various locations over the years. Since 2013, grapes have come from a vineyard only a half-mile from his property. Cadman also produces Syrah (also from Haynes, it has juicy, blueberry elements and is well rounded and perfectly dry — a classic, cool climate offering) and, occasionally, Zinfandel (that he sources from out of the area). His daughter, Brie, relocated to Coombsville last year after finishing her studies at UC Berkeley. She took winemaking and viticulture classes at Napa Valley College and started winemaking with her father in 2012. “My sister and I have been on the bottling line since we could stand,” she says. “Now I live here and do it full time." She’s also assistant winemaker at Judd’s Hill.

From "The Characters of Wine Country: An Insider’s View  —  The Bold Italic  —  San Francisco":

Perhaps the quirkiest character I’ve met is Bill Cadman, the founder of the very first garage winery in Napa (established in 1975 before the Paris Wine Tasting). Back then he worked as a tour guide for Robert Mondavi until he was inspired by one drunken Sunday spent with friends and decided to turn the dilapidated buildings on his property into a winery. That Monday he went to the county to get an application for a winery permit. It was one page long, with an $80 filing fee....

One day I asked Bill if I could stop by the winery with my friend Michelle. I planned to bring a lunch that would pair with his wine (my secret passion). I spent the morning preparing foods for each of the wines I knew Bill would serve. When Michelle and I arrived, there was Bill at his front door, waiting to greet us in his customary sweat pants and Hawaiian shirt. I greeted Bill and said, “Hello, Bill, I brought lunch!” Without missing a beat, Bill looked right past me, stuck his hand out toward Michelle and said, “Hello, Lunch, I’m Bill — let’s eat!”

From "Wine Country This Week" by Ronda Giangreco:

Bill Cadman, the owner of Tulocay Winery, is a treasure of information about wine. He is also a witty, humorous and thoroughly entertaining gentleman. Well, the “gentleman” part might be a bit of a stretch. Bill is old-time Napa, with not an ounce of pretentiousness about him.

Nowhere else can you sit down with someone as knowledgeable or as approachable as Bill Cadman. He simply does not have a snobbish bone in his body. His irreverent, light-hearted take on the business of winemaking, however, belies his superior skills. This is seriously good wine. He doesn’t even maintain a pour list. He’ll just ask what you like and open bottles accordingly.

In 1972, Bill brazenly bought an old chicken farm and began pestering the local wineries for a job. He started his career by operating the crushers at Charles Krug. From there he went on to enjoy a long history in the industry, working for the likes of Robert Mondavi, Joe Heitz and other giants of the winemaking world. In 1975, after consuming copious amounts of wine one evening, he made the presumptuous decision to open a winery himself. “My friends looked at the old chicken coops and declared them perfect for a winery. In my altered state, I agreed!” What ensued was the creation of a refreshingly relaxed wine country experience and a Pinot Noir that would launch his career. He has been enjoying the heck out of life ever since.

In Very Napa Valley magazine, Bill Cadman answers such pressing wine-related questions like…

"We noticed that you seem to constantly be accompanied by a rather loud and obnoxious little black dog. Does he influence your winemaking decisions as well?"


"Does anyone know that your daughter Brie is the brains behind this operation? Or should we keep that a secret?"


"The Napa Valley has been labeled as an 'adult Disneyland.' Is that disappointing?"

Read the entire article here.

Seven Reasons to Revisit Napa Valley

Huffington Post Blog

Tulocay Winery, Napa — Get off the beaten Highway 29 and book a tasting at Bill Cadman's Tulocay Winery. Once you've found the right narrow dirt road in a residential area east of downtown, there are no signs or rows of parked cars to guide you. Just Bill, his dog Buddy, and several bottles of something red on an outdoor table in front of his home, where he's been making wine since 1974; before that, Bill honed his craft at Krug, Clos Du Val and Mondavi. Come for the Pinot Noir 2009 ($35) and Cabernet Sauvignon Sarco 2006 ($39) and stay for the entertaining conversation, generous free tastings, and a goodbye hug from Bill. And if you're likeable enough, you might even get invited back to bottle (and drink) the wine. By appointment only.

The Good Life in Napa Valley

An interview with Tulocay owner Bill Cadman

by Anna Maria Knapp

Tulocay Winery

When Bill Cadman tells the story of his life in the Napa wine business, the serious and the comic blend seamlessly into a chronicle of more than three decades in the Valley during a time of enormous change. In 1971 without prior experience, he wandered around the Napa Valley, found employment initially with Charles Krug, then Heitz, Clos du Val, and Mondavi. He bought a home with additional buildings on the property, and sitting around with friends one weekend, he decided to start a winery in his ample backyard. The rest of the story he tells in his own inimitable words, with minor editing for added clarity.

Tulocay is an unusual name. Is it an Indian word?

Yes it is. The winery is on the Tulocay land grant. Back in the old days, the Indians owned “Alta California,” not “northern California.” Then the Mexicans stole the land from the Indians. Then the Spaniards, the Conquistadors, stole it from the Mexicans. Three hundred years later after the revolution, the Mexicans took it back. And then after the Gold Rush, European settlers stole the land from the Mexicans. Land was virtually worth nothing at the time. Before the Gold Rush, you could go to the Mexican governor, who was in Sonoma, and petition for a land grant to develop a rancho. A local guy named Don Gitano Juarez (I always liked that name, especially the “Don.”) did that and later gave part of his land to the City of Napa to build the cemetery on Coombsville Road, where the winery is. It was called the Tulocay land grant, and I always thought that Tulocay and Winery went well together, a rather mellifluous sound, Tulocay Winery. But when you use a name like that, you have to do some research and find out what it really means. You want to make sure that it doesn't mean “man who has sex with a sheep” or something like that. You might be getting a thousand labels printed, and then someone points out the real meaning. You’d have to stop the presses. So I went to the local library and looked up the word. Tulocay is an old Indian word and means “fine wines at reasonable prices,” so I decided to use it.

What were the next steps after you found a name?

I went down to the county courthouse to get permits, which was a lot easier back then because not everybody was trying to start a winery. It was a different world. It was 40 pounds ago. So anyway, you can imagine the taxes, and forms, and permits that you need if you want to make an alcoholic beverage. The federal forms were still post-Prohibition with questions like “Have you ever stood on the running board of a 1929 Packard with a violin case in your hand, driving at high speed, trying to cross the Oklahoma boarder?” I was like, “No.” OK, good. That’s the right answer to that question. “You know anyone named Frank Nitti?” I said, “No, I don’t.” It was pretty much a shoe in at the time. You just filled out the permits and wrote checks for very little money. When you start a winery, three big questions are pricing the wine, the labels, and the name. If you price it too high or too low, it won’t sell, and that’s serious. If you price it too low, people think, “Oh, this wine is not very good. We’re not going to buy that.” You always wonder if it’s too expensive. $30’s too much; $20’s not enough. And getting a label design that someone beside the label designer’s mother likes is a tough one too. It’s a 4-inch square piece of paper, and you think anybody could do it. How difficult can it be? But some labels are great and some aren't. And then naming the winery is tough too. So many wineries have very comparable names, like Stony Hill, Rocky Hill, Stony Road Ridge. So many names meld together, and you forget them. I should have called it the Bill Cadman Winery. Honestly, people identify with a product named after the person who is behind it. It’s like finding out that there’s a real Betty Crocker.

What was your vision for the winery when you started?

I think that what I wanted to do when I started the winery was (1) have fun, and (2) I liked the idea of doing almost everything myself. My business card says , and it’s not a joke. I enjoy having a small operation and pursuing all sides of the wine business. I wanted to make wines with good varietal character. These days, you find a lot of Pinot Noir that is inky black and tastes like it’s mostly Syrah. I wanted a Pinot Noir with flavor that you instantly identify as Pinot Noir. At the beginning, I liked the idea of making wines that were unfined and unfiltered. One important event in my winemaking life was visiting Joe Swan. In the early 1970s, a lot of young kids were getting into the business. Bruce Neyers, Mike Richmond come to mind. But at the time, Joe Swan was what would now be called a cult winemaker. I remember going over to see him with my wife and my infant daughter at the time. Joe Swan was making wine under his white Victorian house in Forestville over in Sonoma. He had white overalls on, because he was a Western Airlines pilot, but everybody thought of him as being only a winemaker. It was like going to Mecca to see Joe Swan. He was making wines that were a leap ahead of anything else that people were making. He was a real milestone in my winemaking life because he was what I wanted to be, a guy who’s making ten to 12 barrels of great wines under his house. At the time, wineries were still making big volumes of wine, but he was hands-on. He was very enthusiastic about French Burgundy and handcrafted wines, but back then, winemaking was still being done, in Sonoma especially, in the big volume Sebastiani style. You put Zinfandel in a 3,000-gallon redwood tank. You let it sit for ten years until no fruit was left, and the wine was really brown, and then you bottled it and called it “Reserve.”

What details have you discovered over time that have had an important impact on your winemaking? Can you think of an example when a light came on?

At my age more lights have gone off than have gone on. The lights are dimming all over Cadman. She’s nodding her head. You’re talking epiphanies, lights going on. Instead, there was a slow realization that it’s a simple process. If you grow the right grapes in the right place, and the weather cooperates, and you harvest at the perfect time, the rest is simple although not easy. The two most important decisions in a winemaker’s life are when to pick a specific vineyard, the timing of picking the grapes, and who to choose for a divorce lawyer. Those are the two number one things that you have to worry about. Everything else just falls into place. I think that winemaking is about detail, and I have an eye for detail just by nature. When I first got into the industry, there were a lot of romantic attitudes about winemaking, which I tend to pooh pooh. At the time, I though winemaking was about simply crushing gapes and making wine. My conclusion though, at this time, is that there really is a certain magic in the process if you think about the idea that grapes are a god-given present. People didn't create wine grapes. We selected the best quality fruit years ago, and took the grapes that made the best wine, and cultivated them, and duplicated them, and that’s the magical thing. I think if you get good quality fruit, and you pay attention to detail, and keep the equipment clean, you can make good wine. Paying attention to detail is important. “William Cadman CFO,” which I quickly point out to people stands for Chief Forklift Operator.

Anna Maria Knapp, Owner
75 Pelican Way G1
San Rafael, CA 94901




Tulocay Winery

1426 Coombsville Road • Napa, CA 94558

Phone: (707) 255-4064
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Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Syrah and Pinot Noir wines
from our Napa Valley winery, made the old fashioned way

 Tulocay Wines
Napa, California