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