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.
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.
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.