“Nothing prepares you for owning a winery,” laughs its winemaker, recalling three major catastrophes in Fontanella Family Winery’s first decade.
A decade ago lawyer-turned-vintner Karen Fontanella and her winemaker husband, Jeff Fontanella, strapped their two infant sons to their backs and set about yanking weeds on the 81-acre Mt. Veeder property they purchased a few years earlier. Grimy and sweaty, Karen recalled recently, the couple looked at each other and simultaneously joked, ‘Living the dream!'” Within hours a tidied-up Karen poured wine for two guests who, caught up in their Napa Valley moment, enthused, “Well, aren’t you just living the dream?” The catchphrase became Jeff and Karen’s tongue-in-cheek shorthand for winery ownership’s less glamorous aspects.
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