' Testimonials - Charter Oak Winery & Vineyards





Welcome to a lovely Napa Valley hidden gem!

The Fanucci’s at Charter Oak Winery in St Helena are taking artisan winemaking to a whole new level. A tour and tasting here is such a treat to partake in because Robert Fanucci continues to use 100-year-old winemaking tools given to him by his grandfather, including hand-made Redwood paddles and a manual basket press! He relies on indigenous yeast for fermentation, allows malolactic fermentation to occur naturally, and does not fine or filter the remaining juice...just as they used to make wine. This style of winemaking results in a pure expression of wine that will change a bit year to year. Dang, it's a real pleasure to taste!⁣

We left with a bottle of “Nonnie’s Red Blend” and “The Zinfandel Mind”, which paired perfectly with the bbq ribs we had over the weekend! ⁣

You know when you go somewhere new and it just feels like home? That’s the warm feeling the Fanucci’s give when sharing their story and wine. There’s so much more to share (including Layla’s art gallery) so I’m going to add the link to their winery in my bio. Cheers wine lovers!⁣ — CaliWineGal

I began enjoying Rob’s fabulous Charter Oak wines about 15 years ago - and am fortunate to have several of Layla’s impressive oil paintings.  They are a wonderful, talented, extraordinary family overflowing with kindness.   Don’t miss their unique wine and art experience when visiting Napa Valley, there is no comparison.

I have worked in the wine business for 20 years in every level of the three tier system. From Wine buyer to wine distribution to DTC winery sales. With all the pomp and circumstance that "marketing experts" hoist into our laps concerning  history, tradition and hospitality, I thought I'd seen it all...Not so.

My wife Carol Blasquez, a true hospitality professional, and I paid a visit to what clearly is an historic labor of love...Charter Oak Winery in St. Helena.

Layla Fanucci, world renowned artist and owner of Charter Oak Winery along with Robert Fanucci her husband and winemaker, have kept alive the traditions, history and spirit handed down to them from Robert's grandfather and grandmother, Guido and Matilda Ragghianti.

The grace of Matilda permeates the 100 year old farmhouse that serves as not only the "tasting room" for Charter Oak Winery, but as the studio where Layla's paintings are displayed. Her art is also on display in the Louvre Palce in Paris as well as the Musee De Marrakech in Morocco and Walter Wickiser Gallery in New York. We sat in the kitchen of the farmhouse in front of a wood burning stove where countless meals have been prepared with love by both Matilda and Layla over the years. The wines were exquisite examples of what wine should be...an expression of love, tradition and impeccable winemaking.

Layla and Robert, along with their son and winemaker David, manage to make hand made wines in the tradition of their founding patriarch, Guido Ragghianti. Using the very same tools left to them by Guido including an ancient wine press as well as wooden "bats" to punch down the cap as the grapes ferment.

Thank you Layla! Carol and I have not stopped talking about our time with you! You have set a new standard for hospitality for my wife Carol and I...both well seasoned hospitality professionals. Thank you also to Robert Fanucci for keeping the values, tradition and spirit of the wines intact and alive in the marvelous wines you and your talented son bring from the earth to our glass...Salud!

There aren't enough words.... To describe Charter Oak...... the strong love, emotion, color, flavor and music of the ambiance of your Charter Oak Winery, Studio, of your heart, of your art; the wines, there aren't enough words. But that won't keep me from trying to tell you how wonderful it was!! The memory of yesterday will warm many tomorrows: it was a gift, thank you!!

Truly, the best wine I've ever tasted. I don't drink a lot of wine, but when I do it's Charter Oak. Love the natural process and family history.

Layla and Robert,
Can't thank you enough for the great, grand tour of the Charter Oak Winery and your magnificent Art Gallery this past Wednesday. But, what was even more special was the glass of "GUIDO" at the end of the winery tour. Guido is not one of my favorites, it is my favorite!  Our guests were overwhelmed with the uniqueness of the tour. Very much appreciated by all.

My wife and I visited this winery yesterday. The owner gave us the wine tour, tasting and introduction to her art studio. It was very charming and the wine was outstanding. It really is a hidden gem.

Thank you so much for hosting our SF State alumni wine tour event and opening your winery to over 50 Gators!  Your gracious hospitality and the beautiful setting of your winery and studio made everyone feel so welcome and comfortable. 
Robert, it was truly a pleasure to see your wine cellar, your grandfather’s original tools, and to learn how you are carrying on the tradition. You are fortunate to have such a rich legacy of family and wine.
And Layla, your artwork is amazing! Doug is a big fan and has often told us about your work, but words cannot compare to actually having the opportunity to enjoy the colors and details of your paintings - they are beautiful.
We received such positive comments about the visit to your winery from our alumni. You helped create a very special day for SF State and we are grateful. P.S. My husband and I are looking forward to being wine club members for many years!

You guys are the best!!! I am so glad I discovered you!!! (You can thank first the Cooking Channel, and then your lovely wife (or mom?)!!!!! she is the perfect hostess!!!!)  AND YOUR WINES ROCK!!!!

We had such a wonderful time with you at Charter Oak. We felt instantly comfortable with you and so enjoyed the winery, the truly special wine and your wonderful paintings. The entire experience was perfect. I do hope we can do another longer visit with you and to St. Helena sometime soon.

Thank you so much for the hospitality! We honestly all agreed that we had the best experience at Charter Oak and especially adored the wine! We cannot wait for the shipment!! We all drank the first two bottles at Terra and had a great time talking about the experience!

Robert, it was truly a pleasure to see your wine cellar, your grandfather’s original tools, and to learn how you are carrying on the tradition. You are fortunate to have such a rich legacy of family and wine.
And Layla, your artwork is amazing! Doug Hupke is a big fan and has often told us about your work, but words cannot compare to actually having the opportunity to enjoy the colors and details of your paintings - they are beautiful.
We received such positive comments about the visit to your winery from our alumni. You helped create a very special day for SF State and we are grateful.

We have finally "digested" our Napa experience and we must say that your wines really stand out against some very big names. Please give Rob our complements. We have never been big fans of petite Syrah but yours is special. I am sure I'll be calling and ordering more. The next time we come to Napa we will be staying with you.

Thank you very much on your hospitality and the opportunity to see your exceptional art and to taste the best wines in Napa. It is so remarkable to see that Guido's Magic in wine making lives on! What an achievement! Guido could be very proud of you. You made our stay at your property very special for us. We hope to see you soon. We wish you all the best in your art and wine creations. — May 2016

It was a great pleasure to meet you when we had our tasting and art tour. The wine is spectacular and we can't wait to share it with our friends. Your art is breathtaking and your life, your family's life, is an inspiration.  — April 2016

I drank the 2014 Guido this past weekend and wine was OUTSTANDING....Thanks to Rob's suggestion to let it breath for 24 hours. I let it breath for 26.  Thanks for producing such delicious wines!  — April 2016

We discovered Charter Oak Winery in October 2015. A small cottage at the end of Charter Oak Ave was not what we were expecting after visiting so many large, commercial wineries in the valley. We enjoyed a small, intimate tasting (4 of us) with Layla painting a picture with words about the wines.  Until that day, I never drank reds.  When I smelled then tasted the Guido Ragghianti, I finally understood what a full bodied wine was. Before we left, we had joined the Underground Secret Society to have wines shipped to us twice a year. 

In 2016, we went back, this time staying in the guest cottage. It was like coming home. We are now planning for a trip this fall. Forgot to mention, we also love Layla's art and have a few pieces hanging in our home!

Truly a story and an experience of a life time for my wife and I. Keep doing great things.

We had the wonderful pleasure of meeting & visiting with you in July last year just before a family wedding was to take place in August. We are members of the wine club. Charter Oak is without a doubt one of my absolutely favorite wines! Visiting with you & Charter Oak is an experience that lives in my heart.

The whole experience at Charter Oak was  highlight of my California visit.

While much time has passed since our visit to your winery, we just opened our “first” bottle of 2011 Monte Rosso Old Vine Zinfandel. We wanted to share with you how much we enjoyed that bottle of wine and the flood of memories from our visit to Sonoma/Napa Valley. It may have just successfully converted us to claiming Zinfandel as our most favorite varietal! To say the least, we are very excited to open the remaining bottles and look forward to our next shipment! We wanted you to know that we are so happy we made the decision to join your Underground Secret Society Wine Club! LOVED THE WINE!!

The process that Fanucci uses, harkens back to the core winemaking tradition that developed through trial and error over time and most often produced the most interesting, soulful wines. Those qualities are in Fanuccis' Zinfandels. They clearly come from the heart which is exactly what you want wine to do. — April 2015

You have made Charter Oak into the most beautiful place, with such soul and grace. Your should be very proud - I think you have the prettiest winery in the valley.

Drank a bottle of 1996 yesterday with my family - Laura, the kids, my brother and sister - and they all were blown away with how incredible it was, super good. What a perfect thing to have in my memory, and it just gets better. Hope you are having a great summer, and I plan to send any large groups I can find to Charter Oak. All the very best.


I had the pleasure of getting a private tour from the lovely Layla who is the co-owner of this super eclectic (and historic!) property. Before I even get to the wine, I gotta tell you that when you drive up to the property, it will appear as if you're rolling up to someone's quaint little home. And that's kind of what it is...

Walk into the living room with a grand piano, spectacular city-scape paintings from Ms. Layla herself and good vibes all around. Then step into the den area that's kind of a quasi-converted store, where you'll find Layla's paintings and swag from the winery.

Then you GOTTA go on the tour - I can't spill all the beans (you just have to go!). But the tour will give you the back-story on the many generations of this family-owned, artisanal business. You'll get a first-hand view of the oldest hand-press in all of the Valley. You'll walk through the vineyards in the back. You'll see Layla's art studio. But most impressively, you'll taste the wines...

OMG, let me tell you, DIVINE award-winning reds. It's been awhile so I don't remember what the specialties are, but you need to know that these wines are made in super limited production (it's a very small operation) and it seems like virtually every release was an award winner.

As if you needed any more convincing, there's another historical gem steps away - an amazing, ma + pop olive-oil store that you cannot miss, which is right across the street from Charter Oak. Artisanal wine and olive oil within steps of each other...doesn't get better than that!!  12/27/2014

We visited back in October - you were our favorite winery! Getting a bottle for my husband for Christmas.

I so enjoyed reading the article you sent over. I felt the same way when I came over and visited your place for the first time. It particularly resonated with me because of my Italian heritage and my relationship with my grandfather. Not only are you making wine, you are preserving a culture. That's why I wanted to join your wine club so I could share a little bit of that with other friends and clients. --- October 2014

“We are all still talking about the wonderful visit we had to your winery and studio. It was the best part of my trip to Napa! A couple of us wanted to order wine and did not know if we should email you, or go directly thru your website. Thank you for the life long memory!!!”

“Thank you so much for this! My friends and I left your winery last weekend very emotional in a good way. What a wonderful establishment you have. I am honored to have been able to spend time in your winery and gallery. My favorite place by far.” -- June, 2013

I had the great privilege of visiting/touring Charter Oak Winery and Layla's studio today...wow! I knew that Layla was a great artist but I had no idea that the depth of her talent is so profound. I loved my visit to the historical Fanucci wine property. So much of the house/cottage/barn/cellar reminded me of parts of my family home/cellar/barn/ghost winery of the 60's/70's. What a treat!! Congrats on your gem-of a winery, the lovely wines that you produce and for preserving what is best of the NV wine-making personality and tradition.