Diamond and Spring Mountains in Napa Valley, as seen from the top of Mount St. Helena, circa 1966 - photo: Domenick Marinozzi
JUST A QUICK SPIN FROM THE PACIFIC OCEAN, you’ll find the spectacular hillside vineyards of our Vitesse wines. The dramatic terrain of Napa Valley, punctuated by its five mountain growing areas, moderate temperatures, stony soils, lengthened growing seasons and longer hang time on the vine, produces fruit with natural acidity, structure and distinctive varietal character that celebrates the cycle of life. Vitesse strives to express terroir that blends altitude and soil, fog and sun, season and spirit into wines that cross the finish line into greatness.
Why Hillside Grapes?
When the discussion turns to “terroir,” or the unique soil and weather characteristics in a particular location that affect the taste of wine grapes, we pay particular heed to the distinctiveness of hillside-grown wine grapes. Vineyards planted on a steep slope typically have good drainage and low levels of nutrients. This forces deeper root growth and healthier vines that, with proper care and attention, produce smaller yields and more intense flavors in the grapes than those from less challenging vineyards in the flatlands.
The Name & The Symbol
“Vitesse” (of French origin) is speed or velocity in French. “Changer de vitesse” is a cycling term for shifting gears. We hope our wines help you to shift gears and enjoy the scenery for awhile before you jump back into the race.
Our symbol is a chainring, that unsung hero of cycling that the chain attaches to in order to transfer energy from your body to the wheels and take you where you want to go. Each time it turns you return to the beginning, not unlike the route taken when striving to make great things such as wine. And while you may cover the route many times, if you’re paying attention you may sense nuances you didn’t know were there.
Mark Marinozzi, Proprietor
Mark created Vitesse Vineyards with his wife Gwen to combine two of his favorite pastimes, cycling and enjoying wine. “Growing up in Northern California, I used to train for bike races by riding the hilly, sometimes steep back roads of Napa and Sonoma Counties. While cycling through the challenging stretches on Trinity Grade, King Ridge and Coleman Valley Road, I rode by beautiful vineyards that displayed the cycle of life in their leaves, fruit and vines, never realizing these were some of the best places on Earth to grow grapes that make exceptional wines. Now I know and I want to share these hidden gems with you.”
No stranger to the world of wine, Mark previously worked as VP of Marketing at J Vineyards & Winery and as a Brand Director at Allied Domecq USA, managing the Napa Valley portfolio that included Mumm Napa, William Hill and Atlas Peak wineries. He cut his teeth marketing many wine brands as a partner in a San Francisco based ad agency, and today shares his love of wine and cycling with his wife and partner Gwen.
Gwen Marinozzi, Proprietor
Gwen is a dynamo, with a keen eye for great design in everything from fashion to food to wine. In her “day job,” she has created products for such companies as Restoration Hardware, Williams-Sonoma and Levi Strauss & Company. Now she is extending her strong sense of aesthetic to wine as well, combined with a love of great cuisine (as a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America) and family as she helps Mark steer Vitesse’s climb to greatness.