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Who / What / Where / When / Why



# Who is Crosby Roamann?

There is no actual "Crosby Roamann" person. The name of our winery is derived from two of Sean's grandparents -- Norma "Peachy" Crosby and Sally Roamann. Sally was a stage-performer in the Roaring-20s -- and who knows what else. She later founded a department store named Roamann's where her daughter, "Peachy," occassionally worked, but Peachy was a poet and a firebrand and a mystic and a dreamer and was destined for other things. Sean grew up very close with his family, and credits his grandfather for bringing wine into the family tradition. Since there is no greater testament to fine wine than to share it with family, over a meal prepared with love, Sean named the winery with Peachy and Sally in mind.

Pictured: Peachy and Sally, New York City 1920s.


. . .  Juliana & Sean

Juliana Arvai and Sean W. McBride are the owners, winemakers, IT department, sometimes delivery people, and general misfits behind the Crosby Roamann winery. Juliana is from a small town outside Chicago, IL. Sean is from the Big Apple. We launched Crosby Roamann in 2006 from our apartment in Brooklyn, New York, and later made it official when we moved to Napa Valley full time in 2010. (You can find more about each of us individually at Our Team page.) We love what we do and hope to be able to share that passion with you!

Pictured: Juliana and Sean, Audrey, and Scarlett, Napa Valley 2010.

# What?  A boutique family winery.

Crosby Roamann is a boutique family winery crafting sophisticated, small production wines by hand in the Napa Valley. We are consumed with the idea of producing terroir-driven modern wines with traditional values. To this end we generally eschew the use of additives in our wines, allowing instead the native yeast living on the fruit to form a spontaneous fermentation. The winery currently produces about 2500 cases per year -- 1000 cases of the Crosby Roamann Estate Bottled wines and 1500 cases of single vineyard selections under Sean W. McBride and Bon Ton Napa Valley. We are a small, family operation and we intend to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Pictured: Juliana with Audrey and Scarlett, Napa Valley 2010.

#Where?  Napa Valley.

Our winery is located at 45 Enterprise Court #6, within the city limits of Napa, in an industrial area called The Crusher District. If you're driving to visit us and coming to Napa Valley for the first time, it can be a bit disorienting when you're pulling into the winery, because we aren't located up-valley in the splendor and glory of Napa Valley proper -- maybe one day we will be -- but we do love this slice of heaven where we have crafted a truly chic industrial space that happens to be a ton of fun to come taste wine in.

Pictured: Wyoming -- Highway 80 -- as we neared a tornado, August 2010.

# When?  Established 2006.

On our first trip from New York to northern California together in the early 2000s, we found ourselves in paradise. Back in NY, we were determined to find a way to return. The company was founded in 2006, and with the 2007 vintage, we produced our first barrel of Napa Valley Cabernet. In 2009, we returned to northern California and began scouting custom crush locations in Napa. By 2010, we had made the decision to make the big plunge. We left our day jobs, sold the Brooklyn apartment, packed up the family's Volvo station wagon with all our belongings and our twin daughters, and drove "way out West" as our daughters would say, to start our lives over again. It was the beginning of the great adventure of Crosby Roamann.

Pictured: Scarlett decorating her barrel of wine, Napa Valley 2010.

# Why?   Hmm, because ...

This is the most common question we get asked, and also the most difficult question to answer. The truth is, we certainly never started with plans to own a winery. Although we both grew up in families that put wine on the table, it seems likely that our passion started when we were in college. Sean worked at a wine and cheese store in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was there that he started to learn and think critically about the theory of terroir -- that wines should taste differently depending on where (and when) they are grown. Juliana's time in Bologna, Italy, on her year abroad -- the memories she brought back with her of evenings spent over dinner with a bottle or two of good (yet, cheap) wine with friends -- these seem, in retrospect, to be the seeds that would blossom into Crosby Roamann. And then life happened. Juliana moved to New York, boy met girl, girl wanted nothing to do with boy, boy married girl -- you know, the same old story. It was not for another decade before we had a chance to really do anything about it. After all, how does one plan a life that one is living?

Pictured: Sean, Audrey, Scarlett, and Kobe, dancing in our fledgling tasting room at the Crosby Roamann winery, 2014.

Also # How?

Our truly formative winemaking training began in 2009 at White Rock Vineyards, where we made wine under the guidance and tutelage of Christopher Vandendriessche. This is where we learned the basics of fermentation science and started to seriously think about practical production considerations, what we would call "technique." White Rock Vineyards has been a breeding ground for young winemakers for over thirty years, and we were lucky, excited, and grateful to work there. This is where we started to experiment with non-interventionist techniques, barrel fermentations on small lots, and spontaneous fermentations. We later worked at Michael Mondavi's FOLIO winery (the old Carneros Creek Winery, now owned by Kieu Huang), and PUNK DOG Wines (now the Eric Gordon Wine Studio). We learned something new from each of these experiences, and each brought us closer to our ultimate goal of building our own winery. Along the way, we studied winemaking, sales, and marketing at U.C. Davis. We travelled extensively and continued to taste and develop our palates and wine experience. The wines from this period are still phenomenal.

Pictured: Audrey performing a punchdown 2016.


Then what?   The "prayer and bootstrap" method ...

One of the things we learned during this period of diving deeply into the wine industry is that while winemaking is known for being both an art and science, one of the things you have to learn simply by doing it is technique -- and there's really no substitue for simply getting your reps in. One of the things that we wanted from the beginning was to be personally responsible for the wines that we shared as "Crosby Roamann." It wasn't just enough for us to make wine at custom crush facility, with a consulting winemaker, a couple cellar hands to do a lot of the actual manual labor, a bottling truck to bottle everything for us, a label designer, a website designer, you get the picture. Juliana wanted our hands to touch every bottle. We wanted there to be an "us" in each of our wines. And we wanted the wines to express themselves -- their terroir, their vintage, their hearts. Nothing else would do.

Pictured: Audrey and Scarlett, Crosby Roamann Winery 2016.

The Crusher District

In 2014, we purchased an abandoned warehouse in the Crusher District of Napa Valley. This particular unit had been built in 2007, but never completed. The rest of the warehouse complex (our neighors) was partially occupied by JuiceBox, a custom crush winery (now The Wine Foundry) and Paradise Pools. We finished the construction in 2014, and converted our unit to a winery and obtained our winery license in early 2015. Our first vintage in our new space was 2015. This was a crash course in winemaking -- what we have since come to refer to as "the prayer and a bootstrap" method of building a winery. The fruit for our 2015 Chardonnay (to this day, the finest example of Chardonnay we have produced) arrived on the morning we were pouring the concrete for the crush pad. We produced an infinitesimal amount of 2015 wine, just two tons of Chardonnay, two tons of Merlot, and one ton of Cabernet, plus some Sauvignon Blanc for a friend. That winter of 2016 was quiet, rainy, and cold. We watched the wines age in our own space. We made desperate new plans and conceived grand designs. We couldn't have been happier.

Pictured: Pigeage at the Crosby Roamann winery 2016.

"Wine is a journey, not a destination."

Since 2015 -- so much has changed, and we have learned so much, and made so many very different wines -- it is hard to say exactly how or when we learned to do anything anymore. Juliana will joke, "One barrel became two. Two became four. Before you know it, we were buying a winery in Napa!" We've made so many different kinds of wines. Uninoculated skin-fermented Sauvignon Blanc to Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. Has every single wine been amazing? No. But we've persevered, we're alwys getting better, and a lot of the wines have been spectacular. Truly. Winemaking is a constant juggling act, and very much an industry of "Hurry Up and Do Nothing." And the truth is -- we will always be learning, we will always be experimenting, and we will always want to get better and make better wines. I think we have come to learn there is no such thing as a "perfect" wine or a "100 point" wine. It's true what they say: Wine is a journey, not a destination.

Pictured: The family at the winery 2017.

The big questions, like, where do we go from here?

The big questions we asked about building a winery at that time were, "Will people come?" and "Will they get it?" We are so far off the beaten path, at the end of a cul-de-sac, in an industrial district, in a non-descript warehouse, without a sign, that unless you are intentionally trying to find us, you never would. And even now, as visitors and guests slowly continue to trickle in, we often get calls from the parking lot across the street ... "Where exactly are you?!" But that's ok, because we've started to answer these questions. Yes, you come, and yes, you get it. And we are so completely grateful for that.

Pictured: At our Napa Valley vineyard, 2020.





"Cabernet Sauvignon Worth Splurging On"

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