The Jefferson Connection

A note from Jay Corley, Founder of Monticello Vineyards, Napa Valley

I am Jay Corley, the Founder of Monticello Vineyards and Winery, and the person responsible for the use of Mr. Jefferson's name, and that of his home, Monticello.

As you probably know, both the name Jefferson, and the place Monticello have been used to honor Mr. Jefferson in almost every State in the Union in one fashion or another. As Mr. Jefferson was a great wine and food enthusiast, which have also been my interests, more than 40 years ago I decided to also honor him by doing something that he had a passion for, growing grapes and enjoying fine wines.

As background to this step, I was aware that the name Monticello had been in use in Napa County for more than 125 years, as a small cattle town in the county. That town is now under a reservoir, the largest in the area, and the dam holding the water is named Monticello Dam. The City of Napa has two important streets named Monticello Road, and Jefferson Street. We also have a school League called the Monticello League.

However, one of the key reasons that I wanted to use the names had to do with the fact that The Corley Family, Richard Corley, settled in Virginia in 1640, and part of our Family still remain Virginians today. Who better to honor than the greatest Virginian of all? Our Family has been in the farming business continuously for the past 360 plus years in Virginia and across the country, and farming was Mr. Jefferson's primary passion.

Further, however, is the fact that I lived on a farm in Virginia during my work for the NSA. My languages include Spanish and Italian; Monticello is an Italian word meaning Little Mountain.

For the above reasons, I felt that Mr. Jefferson's love of good food and fine wine and hospitality was a suitable for my family to dedicate our life's work honoring his lifestyle and his ideals.

Clearly, our Virginia Family, my interest in architecture - Monticello is built in the Palladian style originated by the Italian, Palladio, my fluency in Italian, and the fact that his name had long been honored in Napa Valley were all very good reasons to also be one that would continue to honor his name and interests.

If you find yourself in the San Francisco Bay area, please come to see us. You will be pleased to see how we have maintained some of the standards that Mr. Jefferson felt most important in life, Family-Friends-Hospitality.

Best Regards,
Jay Corley, Founder

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