The story of this exciting young wine label began over 100 years ago in the Napa Valley in the historic appellation of Rutherford. Owner, Steve Tonella’s middle name is Rutherford, and he was raised on his family’s east side bench land vineyard that his great uncle acquired while working for Beaulieu Vineyards. That man was Joseph Ponti. He came to San Francisco from Italy to help rebuild the city after the earthquake of 1905 and then made his way up to Napa Valley. He then met Georges de Latour and began his 42 year tenure at the iconic BV winery. The five acres that he purchased back then have remained in the family for four generations. After selling grapes for many years, Steve decided to bottle a wine from the estate property in 2010. Since then he has overseen everything from farming and production to distribution and sales. The portfolio of six wines is anchored by the Rutherford Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and rounded out with single Bordeaux varietals and a proprietary red blend. Phillip Titus is the winemaker while Steve drives the intention and aesthetic. Together, they craft soulful wines that exhibit beauty, balance, and commitment to their varietal.
As the winery’s private client manager, David brings decades of experience to the S.R. Tonella brand and thrives in the culture that Steve has created. He himself is a 4th generation descendant of Emerald Coast pioneer Silas Gibson and grew up here on the Emerald Coast. After graduating from the University of South Florida with a degree in Fine Art, David moved to Miami and began honing his food and wine skill set, working for James Beard award-winning chef Michael Schwartz at his original restaurant called Nemo. For the next 10 years, he directed restaurant wine programs in Miami and Destin and began visiting California wine regions. With each trip, the call to wine country became stronger, and in 2007 he moved to St. Helena. David's experience over the past 15 years includes management roles at Michelin Star restaurants Martini House and PRESS, then directing hospitality and DTC programs for both Quintessa Estate Winery and Lewis Cellars. In January of 2022 David and his wife Danielle set out to travel the world for five months and experience the culture, food, and wine of many different countries. Upon returning home, he and Steve met and formed a mutual vision of authentic and unique experiences for their guests.