Our family started off in Napa Valley growing walnuts, dates, and a small selection of grapes in the 1950s. That’s when Dr. Lewis Gibbs Carpenter Jr., a lifelong farmer and psychologist with a history rooted in the cattle ranches of Gilroy, moved to Saint Helena and bought land on the valley floor. An agriculturalist at heart, Lewis’ expansive orchards and personal garden were a testament to his hard-working attitude and dedication to Napa Valley’s natural resources. By the 1970s, he had replaced most of the nut and fruit orchards with several Bordeaux varietals of grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Merlot, all of which were beginning to gain international attention following the Judgement of Paris in 1976.
From Grapes to WineIt wasn’t until the year 2000 that Craig Handly, Lewis’ son-in-law who was working in the valley as a label designer at the time with his wife Susan, began making wine from Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes grown by Lewis. These first batches, made in a tank kept in our barn, were the beginning of Craig’s new career as a winemaker. Over the next decade, he honed his skills while making private label wines and bottling under his first labels, Terroir Napa Valley and Sentall. It wasn’t until Lewis passed away in 2013 that we introduced Gibbs, an expression of the quality of fruit that Lewis passionately grew for 60 years. To this day, our Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc come from the same vineyards planted by Lewis over forty years ago.
The Third Generation After graduating from the University of San Diego in 2014, Craig and Susan’s son Spencer Gibbs Handly decided to join the family in growing and making wine. The third-generation of our family working in the vineyards, Spencer brings an ambitious attitude to all our new projects and the complex operations of running a small, family business. He got his start in the vineyard when Lewis taught him to drive a tractor at the age of five. Now, you might run into him at our tasting events, talk to him on the phone for orders, bringing new barrels to the winery, and occasionally find him on the tractor.