Owner Background

THOMAS J. WARGOVICH MD

Thomas was born in western Pennsylvania, in what was the heart of the country’s coal and steel industry.

His grandparents immigrated to America from Eastern Europe through Ellis Island, like millions of others, in search of a better life. The very first generation of his family all completed graduate educations, becoming ballistic engineers, rocket designers, and physicians (Thomas’ father). The second generation continued to follow the American dream: Thomas is a retired interventional cardiologist, and three of his brothers are doctors, as well. His sister is an industrial chemist.

Thomas has had a lifelong passion for horticulture, graduating with a degree in Botany/Biology from West Virginia University.

He attended Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, completing his fellowship training in Interventional Cardiology at the University of Florida, where he was faculty at the UF School of Medicine for 10 years.

Thomas became entranced with Napa Valley during an excursion from a medical meeting in the City nearly 20 years ago. Enamored with this seemingly agricultural paradise, Thomas found a beautiful 27-acre parcel of old ranch land nestled in a secluded site in Pope Valley and soon began to plan and plant his own personal horticultural, American Eden.

A Hidden Paradise in Wine Country

"To me, it’s the luckiest thing in the world to wake up to a botanical garden everyday, and to not only be able to take care of the grapes but also the arboretum. What kind of great life is that?"

—Thomas Wargovich

Thomas slowly transformed his ranch into a lush vineyard and botanical arboretum.

Thomas completed courses in viticulture and enology at Napa Valley College. With the grateful help of many, ten acres of Bordeaux and Rhone varietals were planted. Robbie Meyer joined the team as winemaker and Gratus Vineyards produced its first vintage of 75 cases in 2012. “Gratus”, (pronounced ‘grah-tus’) is Latin for “grateful.” Thomas is certainly grateful for this opportunity provided him through the hard work and resolve of his ancestors and grateful to the many members of this community who helped him along the way.

Victoria Wargovich, Thomas’ wife for many years, was instrumental in the founding and development of Gratus Vineyards. Victoria hails from Lynchburg, Virginia and has a background in finance and banking. Victoria spent many long hours in the vineyard caring for and tending vines. Her assessment of wines was simple…to be delicious or not. And to her, Gratus wines were and always will be delicious!

Gratus Vineyards is currently producing about 600 cases per year.

Its premium estate grown wines include a Red Blend (at least 75% Cabernet Sauvignon with Malbec and Petite Sirah), a 100% varietal Malbec, and a 100% varietal Petite Sirah. This year’s bottling (2016 vintage) included our first production of a 100% varietal estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Additionally, Gratus offers a unique White Blend of Rhone varietals (Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier. Lastly, Gratus produces intermittently a small lot of Rose, labeled LˊOvey.

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