Robert Skalli, Founder

Robert Skalli's French viticultural family has been driven by a passion for wines for four generations. The Skalli Family entered the wine business in Algeria in the 1920's, when Robert's grandfather, Robert-Elie, established vineyards in Oran, Mascara, Mostaganem, and Ain Temouchent.

In 1961, Robert's father, Francis, fell in love with a wild mountainous area on the remote west coast of the French Mediterranean island of Corsica. This became the Skalli Family Estate of Terra Vecchia. At the same time, he set up a French wine domestic and import business, Les Chais du Sud (Cellars of the South), on the Mediterranean Languedoc coast. In 1974, Robert joined the family business, Les Chais du Sud, creating significant growth for the company with the addition of a new winery and maturing cellars.

Through his travels over the next few years, Robert became enamored with the Napa Valley.  His conversations and time spent with local growers and vintners led him to believe that business survival in an increasingly international market depended on improving wine quality.  He set out to find the perfect property in Napa Valley, with its Mediterranean climate, to craft the very best wines while simultaneously turning his efforts to revitalizing the ancient vineyards of the Languedoc.  His mission was to provide quality at all price points, and to establish a family estate winery to rival the best in the world.

In the meantime, Robert traveled constantly, persuading Languedoc growers to plant quality vitis vinifera, such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, instead of high-yield, mediocre-quality vin de table grapes. Spurred by what he saw in California, Robert urged producers to make a radical change from the appellation d'origine contrôlée system and label the new wines by varietal. Along with Jacques Gravegeal, Robert helped to create the official "Vin de Pays d'Oc" designation that led to the first varietal wines of France.

Robert realized part of his dream in 1982 when he purchased and began planting the beautiful Dollarhide Ranch in the northeastern mountains of the newly established Napa Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area). Seven years later, the Skalli Family established St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery on their second estate– this time in the Rutherford AVA in the heart of Napa Valley.

Today, and looking toward the future, Robert Skalli continues to offer wine drinkers the pleasures that come with great wine from fantastic estate vineyards.


Robert Skalli, Founder