William Hill and Bighorn Cellars

Bighorn Cellars was founded by Bill Hill to combine his two ambitions — developing ultra premium vineyard sites and handcrafting limited quantities of exceptional wines from the regions where they grow best.

Bighorn’s mission is to produce wines from exceptional vineyards in the best growing regions for each varietal. For example, we make Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from Napa Valley, Chardonnay from Carneros and Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast and Willamette Valley, Oregon.  Bill Hill’s extensive experience developing ‘Grand Cru’ vineyards in many different geographies makes this unique multi-regional approach possible.  Look for additional releases in new regions in the near future.

Bill’s enthusiasm for fine wine and viticulture commenced while he was earning his MBA at Stanford University. Having grown up in a farming community in Oklahoma, he was naturally drawn to the agricultural aspects of the nearby Napa and Sonoma Valleys. He quickly became captivated by viticulture for the breathtaking vineyard vistas and in turn enamored with the artful handcrafted wines of the region.

After earning his degree, Bill embarked on a grand tour of Europe, where he was inspired by the subtleties, style and philosophy of French and German wine. The French focus on terroir as being the main determinant of a wine’s character and style resonated with Bill, and in 1972 he began his career-long pursuit of acquiring and developing exceptional vineyard sites.

His timing couldn’t have been better. Napa was well on its way to becoming a center for fine wine in California then, but few were looking to the hillsides to plant vines. Bill was among the first to realize the potential of these sites and became a specialist in hillside plantings. Many of the vineyards that Bill created in the 1970s were later purchased by some of the world’s top wine producers including The Hess Collection, Piero Antinori of Italy, and Diamond Mountain Ranch.