History - Burgess
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The story of Burgess includes pioneering history and 150 years of growth rooted in the stony hillsides of Napa Valley, culminating in the elegant wines of a new century.

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1871

The hillside slopes that will eventually become the Burgess ranch are acquired by George Clinton Fountain, a pioneering St. Helena vintner.

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1882

Brothers Carlo and Fulgenzio Rossini arrive in the United States from the Italian speaking region of Ticino, Switzerland. They are familiar with mountain cultivation and purchase the prime land from Mr. Fountain for a mere eleven-hundred dollars.

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1884

Giovanni and Elva Poncetta purchase the land from Carlo and Fulgenzio and plant additional grapes, bringing the fruit to the winery that the Rossini brothers constructed near the bottom of the hill.

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1892

Using stone from the area, Giovanni and Elva Poncetta build a gravity-flow winery on the hillside. Grapes are crushed on the upper floor and juice pours into the tanks below. This same winery later becomes the original Burgess winery, standing for an incredible 128 years.

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1943

Former meatpacking executive Lee Stewart purchases the Poncetta winery and its surrounding 34-acres of hillside. He names the winery Souverain and goes on to produce some of Napa’s most acclaimed wines. Legendary winemakers Warren Winiarski and Mike Grgich each begin their careers at Souverain.

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1972

Tom Burgess, a former Air Force pilot, falls in love with the Napa Valley and its wines. He searches for the perfect vineyard site where he can cultivate Cabernet Sauvignon and purchases the Souverain winery. Burgess Cellars is founded and Tom hires Bill Sorenson as chief winemaker, who crafts mountain wines of great finesse for 41 consecutive vintages, one of the longest tenures in the history of Napa Valley.

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2020

The Lawrence Family acquires Burgess, upholding a 150-year tradition of family ownership. Gaylon Lawrence entrusts the legacy of Burgess to Winemaker Meghan Zobeck.

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2021

Burgess relocates to its new home on the Silverado Trail while maintaining its historic vineyard, now renamed Sorenson Vineyard, at the original Burgess site. Through Winemaker Meghan Zobeck’s regenerative farming efforts, the health of the vines and heritage of the vineyards continue to be preserved for future generations.

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