The Winning Policy of Carmen Policy

Former 49ers president lives the life of abbondanza as a vintner.

I think the best and the brightest in most careers are those that have worked so extremely hard at their craft that they make it look easy. I also think they have achieved the greatest accomplishment of all, being comfortable in their own skin. This is the state of mind of Carmen Policy.

In case anyone is wondering whatever happened to the ebullient former San Francisco 49ers president, he’s swapped the playing field for the planting field, and the results have been equally stellar.

He’s just that kind of guy, a real point person, helming the Niners to four Super Bowl championships, and now leading his 100 percent estate-grown cabernets to high ratings from those in the know, such as Robert Parker and Wine Spectator. Those leaderboards hover around 94 precious points, with plenty of hefty compliments in the post vintage chatter.

Carmen Policy is a vintner straordinario and a very proud husband, father and grandfather.

As he and grandson Nicky stroll the Yountville grounds of the lovely Casa Piena he shares with his lovely wife Gail and their grande famiglia, the day shouts of all things blessed about wine country, and Carmen exudes that unique hospitality, found in few other places in the world.

Much has been written about this man and his graciousness, and now I know why. He has made a career out of caring intensely about the person he is talking with, be that his client as a top-notch trial attorney, a jury, his football players or whoever is standing across from him. No cursory handshake with his eyes on the next person in line for this man. Time stops as he stops to listen. He had a hard life young, which only seems to have ripened him for an older life of abundance. He’d never think to avoid the downpour; he’s just learned to dance in the rain. In this sense, he is distinctively different.

His wine continues the theme: winemaker Thomas Brown and the Policys have sought to bring to the bottle from their young vineyards, that which is slightly different in flavor than the typical boisterous Napa Valley cab — what Carmen suggests is a “more feminine” note. Their playbook coaxes the best their land can muster up and it’s abundantly clear, they are heading for a championship season ahead.

You can learn more about the wines of Policy Vineyards at http://www.casapiena.com, where it also can be purchased.

Carmen Policy and his wine will be featured in the new documentary film, A Passion for the Vine, to be released this fall as a sequel to A State of Vine.

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