The Delicato family is dedicated to their legacy of producing highend wines that express the diversity Napa terroir has to offer.
Although it is one of the younger wineries in the Napa Valley, Black Stallion Estate Winery’s history began almost a century ago when Gaspare and Caterina Indelicato immigrated from Sicily to the United States. While the couple planted a single vineyard in the Central Coast to begin their wine journey, its legacy continued to expand across different AVAs in the region. In 2010, Delicato Family Wines planted roots in the Oak Knoll District of the Napa Valley, on the grounds of a former equestrian center, establishing Black Stallion Estate Winery and specializing in beautifully crafted, small-lot Cabernet Sauvignon.
“From a vision and strategy standpoint, we were aligned from the very beginning, and I think that’s why we’ve been so successful for the last 10 years,” says head winemaker Ralf Holdenried, who joined the Delicato Family Wines in 2014. “Even though the company has been around for a long time, I was able to create a vision [for Black Stallion] with the family to establish a great Napa winery and shape the brand, the wine style and how we make wines.”
Holdenried adds that the Delicato family plays an amazing role in creating a family atmosphere. “We had a fourth-generation family member join the winemaking team a few years ago, so the family legacy continues,” he says. “His involvement also signifies, to me, the commitment that the Delicato family has to high end wines, to Black Stallion and to another 100 years of making great wines in California.”
Further to the brand’s success is the consistency of the high-quality grape supply and maintaining relationships with good vineyards. “You have to have good grapes in order to make good wine, so securing the grape sources was step number one.”
While Cabernet Sauvignon is Black Stallion’s flagship wine, Holdenried says the winery’s mantra is to find some of the most exciting vineyards in Napa Valley that can contribute unique characteristics to not only the single varietals but also blends that can express a balanced variety of textures, aromas and flavors. “I really focus on this art of blending to highlight individual sites,” he says, commenting on Black Stallion’s ability to source from the diverse terroir of Napa Valley.
Looking forward, Holdenried says that Black Stallion Estate Winery will continue to provide great quality wines, begin experimenting with different grape varieties and expand guest experiences at the winery. For that, Wine Enthusiast is happy to honor Black Stallion as the American Winery of the Year in the 2023 Wine Star Awards.
Last Updated: November 7, 2023