Randle Johnson has been working in Napa Valley for 35 years, and is currently a winemaker at Hess Collection. Calafia Cellars is the personal brand of Randle and his wife MaryLee. Made from their own estate grapes blended with small quantities of grapes from other vineyards, Randle uses his extensive experience and knowledge to create a fine example of what Napa Valley, and St. Helena in particular, have to offer.
The Legend of Calafia
The winery name its derives from a legend about a queen and her society of amazons on an island in the West Indies recorded in the log of Columbus’ first voyage. The legend was then popularized by Garcia Ordonez de Montalvo, a historical novelist, in his book, published in 1503 in which he named the queen “Calafia.” The origin of the word “Calafia” remains a mystery. Explorer Hernando Cortez landed near the tip of Baja in 1513 and was reminded of the rugged terrain described in Montalvo’s book. Believing he was on an island he named it “Calafia’s Land” which then became California.
Queen Calafia’s great wealth was guarded by griffins; half eagle, half lion. Calafia Cellars uses griffins in the logo, protecting the fruit and vines that land bear.