Cave Digging at Bialla Vineyards


Now that you have heard what goes into digging into the side of hill to construct a wine cave, join us for Part 2, as Dave Provost and Brian Simmons from Bacchus Caves take us to visit one of their completed projects, and talk with owner Vito Bialla of Bialla Vineyards.

Although most wine caves are somewhat utilitarian, the Bialla Vineyards cave has the look, feel and comfort of a living space – yet still has plenty of room for barrel storage and a wine cellar.

More Information:

Bialla Vineyards:
Bacchus Caves:

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Show #136
(48:37 min 22 MB)









7 Responses to “Cave Digging at Bialla Vineyards”

  1. 1 Greg Sloane Mar 14th, 2007 at 8:06 am

    Love this podcast. I think its time I built a cellar under my hi rise in New York =-). Thanks for doing the video it adds a lo to this type of podcast.


  2. 2 J Apr 7th, 2007 at 4:18 am

    I’m surprised there haven’t been more comments on this episode. While Mr. Bialla seems like a generous man and a true wine lover, I continue to have a problem with his “business model”:
    – Rich business man sets aside a large chunk of his wealth to take the wine world by storm.
    – Hire “the best” of everything, give them a “blank check” to plant the best vineyards, buy the best barrels, and make the best juice.
    – Sprinkle innuendos about Robert Parker ratings and gratuitous comparisons with other top California labels. Bonus points for name-dropping “Screaming Eagle”.
    – Flat out state that your winery’s goal is become the next “cult” wine that is only obtainable from a mailing list, all the while claiming to be the great democratizer by “only” charging $80 a bottle.

    Doesn’t it all just seem a bit formulaic? Making good wine is one thing, but to approach it in such a cold, calculated manner is frankly quite off-putting. It seems a lot of these rich guys-cum-Napa Valley vintners are forgetting that winemaking is as much artform as science. It troubles me that when asked, Mr. Bialla had great difficulty in even describing what his wine is all about. After much prodding, he finally offers some rather generic statements that can frankly describe any number of labels currently on the market. And if I were in Mr. Bialla’s place, committing a large chunk of my capital on such a risky endeavor, I would take the time to learn things like what kind of barrels my wines are being aged in. But I guess that’s the era we live in. When a rich guy drives a Ferrari or buys a Picasso, nobody seems to care if he can’t tell you why those objects are so valuable (except the true auto enthusiasts and art lovers of the world). In this case, somebody throws money at a winery and expects to put out the next Screaming Eagle — in the same way you throw a seed in the ground and have a tomato plant in a few weeks. And nobody bats an eye when he can’t even tell you what makes his wine so special.. except, perhaps, the true wine lovers of the world.

    I have no problem with rich guys building wineries. In fact, I’d love to do it one day as well. I just don’t think you should approach winemaking in such a transparently calculated way. Dig around in that cave and I’m sure you’ll find a Powerpoint presentation with a business plan, exit strategy and all. An IPO can’t be very far away.

  3. 3 J Apr 7th, 2007 at 4:38 am

    And as a follow-up to my previous post, I think this also highlights a growing problem with the Grape Radio format. On the one hand, you guys profile intensely passionate, hands-on, artisinal types of producers like Greg Brewer and Brian Loring. And the next week, you guys will do something like this show. Of course, it all falls under the category of wine, and wine lovers (like myself) eat it up. But you have to admit that on this topic — and many others — your show is effectively showing two sides of a particular issue or debate.

    The problem I have is that you guys don’t take a stand on these issues — as if you don’t have an opinion. And certainly, that’s the best approach if you want to put out a show that touches as many corners of the wine world as possible (and reaches out to the most number of listeners out there). But you guys really have to drop all the giddiness — that whole wide-eyed “I can’t believe I’m actually here talking to this guy” spiel that pops up all to frequently. Winemakers and other wine professionals benefit tremendously from gaining access to your audience. I think it’s your responsibility to facilitate that access in a far more professional manner than you currently do. I offer this criticism because I don’t think the development in your interviewing skills are keeping pace with the growing profile of Grape Radio in the wine world, and it would help the show tremendously if they did.

  4. 4 NSM Jun 6th, 2008 at 12:51 am

    Just a quick one here: isn’t building a cave directly under your vines a pretty silly idea? I mean, it looks great and all but some vines have roots stretching down 30 or 40 feet… I can’t see the fruit from the vines directly overhead being up to much, and all that concrete can’t be too good for the soil either.

  5. 5 K. Waters Apr 15th, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    This is my first time to this site and my first time of hearing about wine caves. I did enjoy the pictures and the radio podcast. Very personable. I thought the wine cave itself was amazing, though like the other reader I wonder about the grape vines that are growing above the concrete and need room for their roots. You were talking of dinners and etc down in the cave, my question is what of the coldness of the cave?

  6. 6 GrapeRadio Bunch Apr 15th, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    K – temperature ought to be 55’ish fahrenheit.


  7. 7 Grape Vines Sep 29th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    This looks really nice. The perfect place to drink some red on a hot summer day.

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