Butala Vineyards History

My introduction to grape growing and winemaking originated when I was about four years old with my Croatian immigrant grandfather. It developed and grew through my teenage years, by my helping my grandfather tend to his grapevines and assisting him make wine from his vineyards in my hometown of Sharon PA., from cuttings sent to him from the "old country" by his father, my great grandfather, who had farmed Butala Vineyards in Skakavac Croatia since 1875.

I have been making a living in the entertainment industry since I was eleven years old. In early 1958 I founded the entertaining/vocal group, The Lettermen. We released our first single record in 1960. In our over  fifty year career to date, we've been fortunate to have had twenty-five hit single records, over fifty hit albums and/or CDs worldwide, eighteen of them gold, and have sold over one hundred million ($100,000,000.00) dollars worth of records, have been inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and have had six Grammy nominations.

Experiencing all of the above in a great career - that continues today - was wonderful, but in the early 1970's I reconnected with my true passion, which is grape growing and wine making, and dedicated myself to what I then realized was my true vocation, by establishing a bonded California winery which I named Castlebrooke Winery.

After several years of making wine from my vineyard in Southern California, I decided to enter the quality wine market by purchasing a forty acre hillside horse ranch property in the Vaca Mountain Range in the south-east section of Napa Valley in 1987.

I started to plan vineyards on that property, at an elevation of eight hundred feet above the valley floor, choosing rootstock that would best complement the varietal clones of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot gapes, that I intended to plant, that up to that time, were not commonly utilized in Napa Valley.

In 1989, and 1990, I proceeded to plant about fourteen acres of grapevines in six different blocks of my vineyards, 

My goal was to have a premium wine facility in Napa Valley, patterned after the Premier Grand Cru wines, and produced at the legendary Chateau vineyards and wineries in Bordeaux France.

The first harvests of Butala Vineyards grape crop materialized in 1992, and 1993. 

For over eighteen years, Butala Vineyards has been producing grapes that have gone into some very prestigious wines, for example, Stags' Leap Winery and Artesia Winery, with most of the bottles containing Butala Vineyards grapes, selling for at least, fifty ($50.00) dollars per bottle, with some selling at one hundred ($100.00) dollars per bottle.

In1976, two Napa Valley California wineries were judged number one, in the red wine and white wine categories, from wines from around the world, in the "infamous" blind wine tasting in Paris France, with mostly French judges.

This event did more for our country's awareness of wine than any other preceding incident, causing wine consumption in the United States to soar, quadrupling in the last thirty-five years, but yet has not even come close to the amount of wine consumed per year, by the population of the majority of countries in Europe.

Butala Vineyards, is now at a point to where it is prepared to expand its operation to the next stage, which would be to retain more of its own harvest each year, and have more wines to sell under it's own wine labels, Castlebrooke and Butala Estates Wineries, and capitalize on the growing world-wide demand to buy high-end quality wines.  

Butala Vineyards is solely owned by myself, and at this stage of my vineyards life, I am in need of an influx of additional capital, to be able to elevate and increase production of the vineyards and winery to that next level.

Additional money is needed to expand the planted vine acreage on the vineyard properties available acreage, and by interplanting within the already planted acreage. This will increase the planted acreage by (Twenty Five percent) over seventy-five percent, which would increase the tonnage produced to over one hundred (Tons) percent, which would increase the income greatly effecting the profit margin.

Additional capital eventually could be used to excavate and construct an in-cave winery on the vineyard property, which would keep all aspects of winemaking in-house and drastically reduce the cost of making the wine, by cutting down on the expense of grapes to be crushed elsewhere, then paying for the grapes to be fermented, blended, barrel-aged, bottled and carted to a bonded storage facility to be shipped out to the buyers.

Having a winery on the vineyard property would justify an Estate Grown and Bottled designation to be affixed to each bottle's wine label. Being able to do this would automatically raise the status of the winery and would elevate the price able to be charged per bottle while decreasing the cost of making wine.

The improvements to the vineyard would also immediately increase doubling the overall value of the property which would drastically increase the investor?s original investment. Also the appreciation of the property would increase at a higher percentage rate per year in the future, due to additional improvements to the property.   

Enclosed in this presentation are essential materials that outline various partnership opportunities available to a selected group of qualified investors.

Investing in Butala Vineyards is a sound business investment that would produce a high profit return on the invested dollar, doubling the invested amount within a ten year period or less.

Partnering with me in Butala Vineyards would be an exciting and exhilarating experience and opportunity for anyone who enjoys the mystique and magic of the wine experience enhanced with the advantages and promotional experiences that a celebrity partner rings to the venture giving promotional considerations unlike the average winemakers can compete with..  

Butala Vineyards has a long and intriguing history. Tony Butala was born in Sharon Pennsylvania. Each of his parents had parents who were Croatian immigrants, who came into this country -- by boat around 1900, 

Tony's grandfather Miko, soon after settling in Sharon Pennsylvania in 1913, planted a vineyard on his homestead property, so he could continue the age-old family tradition of growing grapes and making wine. 

In the early 1940's, since most of the men were overseas fighting in the Second World War, Tony's mother Mary, was called to go to work to join in the manufacturing of electric generators necessary to power Tanks, Ships and Aircraft for use in the war effort.

Tony, being the eighth child in his family, and the only one not in school yet, had to be left with his grandparents, to be looked after all day, until his mother would get home from work. 

Tony, since he was four years old, was a constant shadow of his grandpa, who had a vineyard to maintain, and who had no qualms about having his little wide-eyed grandson apprentice "help" him in his vineyard, caring for, grafting vines, harvesting grapes and making wine with him.

By the time Tony was in school, and from there after, he maintained his vineyard appreciation with his grandpa, until he moved to California in the early 1950's, 

Once in California, however, Tony began a long successful career in the entertainment industry. Over the years, even though he always appreciated, drinking and collecting rare and good wines, it took him until the early 1970's to rekindle his interest in, and revive his passion for actually growing grapes and making wine himself.

In the early 1970's, he established Castlebrooke, a bonded California winery, and made wine from grapes of various varietals he grew on his experimental vineyards in Southern California.

In the mid 1970s, Castlebrooke began buying grapes to make its wine from Napa Valley vineyards,

Two Napa Valley wineries, that made wine from grapes grown in that magical valley, won first place awards, in the red wine and white wine categories, over the best wines of France, in what is still remembered as the infamous blind wine tasting of Paris France, in 1976, judged by mostly French wine experts.

The Napa Valley vineyard and wine industry started to explode, due to the Paris tasting and also the awareness regarding wine and the beneficial consequences of it, that our country was finally starting to experience.

After several years of buying grapes from Napa Valley vineyards to make his Castlebrooke wines, Tony Butala decided to enter the quality wine market and decided to try to obtain vineyard land in Napa or Sonoma Valleys.

In 1987, Tony was fortunate due to a quirk of fate, to even find an available property to buy, and purchased a forty acre hillside horse ranch property, at an elevation of eight hundred feet above the valley floor, in the foothills of the Vaca Mountain Range, which is the eastern boundary of Napa Valley,

In 1989 and 1990, he originally planted about fourteen acres of vines in six different blocks of his vineyards, with rootstock (3309, 101-14, 420-A, and 5-C) that matched the particular type of diverse soil found in each of the blocks on his property.

In late 1990, he grafted onto that rootstock, the special varietal clones of, mostly Cabernet Sauvignon grapes (clone 337), and a smaller amount of Merlot grapes (clone 181).

The first harvests of Butala Vineyards grape crops materialized in 1992, and 1993. They were very small yields due to the young age of the vines, but Butala's Castlebrooke Winery made wine out of them.

In the year 1999, Tony cleared a portion of the beautiful meadow, where he, his sister and his mother Mary used to have picnics beside the creek, on an historic old cabin foundation, the location of which, over one hundred years earlier, was used as a Wells Fargo Stage Line, rest stop. The antique fig, apple and citrus trees are still there bearing fruit and testimony to its legacy.

In the year 2000, the approximate one and one half acres was planted to Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines, and designated as block number seven, or as Tony likes to refer to this block, since his mothers passing as " Mary's " vineyard.

In the year 2005, Tony T- budded the Merlot grapevines on block number five to Cabernet Sauvignon vines.

The current total of blocks on the vineyards amount to seven. Blocks numbers two, four, five, six, and seven, are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines, and blocks numbers one and three are planted to Merlot grapevines.

Since 1994, up to the present, for eighteen years, Butala Vineyards produced grapes that went into some very prestigious wines, like Stags' Leap Winery and Artesia Winery, with most of the bottles containing Butala Vineyards grapes, selling for at least, fifty ($50.00) dollars per bottle, with some selling at one hundred ($100.00) dollars per bottle.

The future of Butala Vineyards looks very bright and exciting, with plans to transform it from just a high quality vineyard to a unique and intriguing vineyard, winery and wine-cave.


You may now PURCHASE Butala Vineyards 2007, 2008 and 2009 Castlebrooke Merlot

2006 & 2007 Atresa / Butala Vineyards Designation Label Cabernet Sauvignon wine made from Butala Vineyards grapes grown on Tony's vineyard

Artesa Label Front

History of Wine in the World

Wine is believed to have been ?discovered" more than six thousand years ago, somewhere in Greece.

Based on all of the world's collective knowledge, putting all of the historical information together, considering all of the anthropological and social dynamics of every known civilization, intensive searching going systematically back in time, generation by generation, most viticulturists and enologist concur that a scenario like the following probably may have occurred,

The legend tells a story of a man who received a message from his family, who lived several days distance away from where he now lived.

He had moved away from home to settle in the land his wife who was from another area.

The message he received, was that his father, who had been suffering from ailments for a few years, was now very ill, and soon would possibly be on his death bed. One of his last requests was to see his only son, one last time before he died.

The son, who deeply loved his father, after receiving this message, left his newly picked harvest of grapes that in those days were only grown to be eating grapes -- because wine had not been "invented" yet -- in a stucco bin adjacent to his preparing shed next to his garden. He immediately packed up his family and headed toward his home village, on his mule drawn wagon, to go back to visit his ailing father.

He arrived at his home village in time to spend the last few days of his father?s life together, with him, reconciling and rekindling the relationship they had been deprived of due to time and distance.

The father eventually died and the son and his family ended up staying at the family homestead for about a month, helping his mother and family repair the tattered homestead that had fallen into disrepair over months of neglect due to his father?s illness.

About six weeks later, the son and his family arrived back at their own home.

During his inspection and evaluation of the status of his situation upon his arrival back home, he found that instead of about one half of a ton of eating grapes that he left in his bin, he discovered that in its place was a bin of dark purple liquid that had a pungent aroma.

This peasant farmer must have been the first brave sole--who was adventurous enough to get up enough   nerve, to actually taste that liquid, find it palatable to drink, discover the many attributes that it had, and consequently experienced the pleasant feeling it gave him--who discovered WINE. 

Wine, due to the lack of the ancient world being able to communicate, stayed a well kept secret in Greece for many centuries. It wasn't until Greece was invaded by many empires that this magical potion started to be exported to other parts of the known world.

Eventually, when the Roman Empire spread to Greece, they embraced wine and the wine culture, and they more than anyone, spread the word about wine, and expanded the knowledge of it to every land that they had dominion over.

Because of Rome becoming the center of world trade, its web of influence spread information outward from Rome and spread information back into Rome from the extreme ends of the empire. The city of eternal light developed an upper elite class of people that over centuries, started to become aware that in one of the outer areas, which later became France, better quality wines were being produced and eventually made their way to the forefront of notoriety in the Roman nobility.

Centuries after the Roman Empire collapsed, France rose to the top of world-wide recognition, as being the Mecca of the quality wine producing region of the world.

By the time of Christ, wine was in daily use by most populations of the world, and we find that it was noted and referred to many times in biblical references that we find passed down to us in the Bible.

In the seventeenth century in the Abbey of Hautvillers in the Champagne district of France, an amazing sparkling drink was discovered by a monk cellar-master by the name of Dom Pierre Perignon.                          

This drink became very notorious in France, and gradually its fame spread around the world with the name    Champagne. It has been adopted by most countries as the official celebratory drink and is a must at most festive occasions anywhere. The monk, who so long ago is responsible for Champagne as we know it, is honored by having his name inscribed on some highest quality bottles called Dom Perignon.   

By the eighteenth century France was exporting its wine throughout Europe. Soon, Kings, Queens, Noblemen and heads of state, around the world, were extolling the virtues of this wonderful elixir wine that became an important part of the population.

By nineteen seventy-six the world was shocked at the results of the yearly blind wine tasting in Paris France when the results came in that two Napa Valley wineries won first place awards over the best Premier Gran Cru Chateau wineries of France.

This event was probably the turning point in wine appreciation and wine production in the United States of America. The interest and sales of Napa Valley wine quadrupled in the next few years in the country. 

In the United States, by nineteen-ninety almost every state of the union developed a renewed interest in exploring its potential to grow grapes and make wine.

Even though most states have a definite disadvantage over California, Washington and Oregon, due to the soil, weather and shorter growing season, a lot of them are starting to develop grape varietals that thrive in their particular conditions and make wine with their own unique style and flavorful attributes.

Combine the awakening to wine in this country along with the comparable growth of wine interest and wine production in almost every other country and the result is that wine consumption is surpassing all the other alcoholic beverages throughout the world.

There are very good wines being produced in newer areas like South America in Chile, and in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, along with the perennial wine producing countries of France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Hungary and Croatia. 

In conclusion, the history of wine and its place in the world is much cemented.

Any person with an attraction to wine, who is interested in its social impact and in one of the most rapidly growing businesses world wide, would be wise to invest in any aspect of the wine industry.

There are so many varied parts of the wine industry to invest in: grapevine nurseries, vineyard developing, vineyard management, wine distribution, wine promotion and wine shop ownership.

The one facet, however, that can involve all of the rest, is the investment in a venture like Butala Vineyards and Castlebrooke and Butala Estates Wineries, where all of the above factors are involved.      

Having Vision to invest before it became the thing to do.

The Vision has proven true as the wine business matures High End Wine is not for everyone - High End Wine is for those that can afford the luxury.

The Vision of Quality vs. Quantity

The Romantic side of Wine, PRICELESS

Why High End Wine is Successful, smaller volume effort greater reward.

While the Largest Vineyards are forced to think conservative as large farming costs and LARGE Logistics weigh heavy on operations.  Competition for self space and price wars make a Boutique winerey with limited inventory to sell makes good sense and good dollars.