John Wayne was known and loved for his tough exterior, beliefs, and a seemingly-unbreakable spirit. At times if you watch his movies, you’ll see a tiny grin that gives hint to the heart he had and what he stood for. He even made a writer change a script because it casted him shooting someone in the back… He refused. He didn’t take the easiest routes in his career, even though it would’ve made him a lot more money. In his total movie count of over 140 films, the movie “True Grit” was the only one that he won an Academy Award. He was a true legend.

Now let me introduce you to the John Wayne of the wine business: Tim Thornhill. He (along with his brother Tom) is an owner and proprietor of the Mendocino Wine Company, with brands including Paul Dolan, Moniker, and the well-known Parducci Wine Cellars which all operate under a greater umbrella of sustainability in its truest form.

Born and raised in Houston, Tim describes himself as, “starting out with a wheelbarrow and a pickup truck and working my way up.” After establishing a small landscaping business as a young man in Texas, Tim moved to Orlando, Florida in the early 1980’s where Walt Disney World became his largest account… Tim’s mastery of landscape design and wildlife restoration has been applied throughout the Parducci Wine Cellars estate. From the wetlands and ponds he designed to recycle 100% of winery wastewater, to the use owl boxes and raptor nests to balance the vineyard rodent population, Tim’s elegant solutions to real environmental problems can be seen. Most recently, in 2012, Tim led a team to transform a five acre piece of fallow land into a thriving organic garden and orchard. During peak harvest the garden produces more than 300 pounds of fresh produce a week for employees. Though growing wine grapes and maintaining a world class wine making facility is Tim’s priority he sees land as a precious resource. (

Thornhill was farming organic before organic was “cool”. These days, it seems more times than not, big brands will do whatever necessary to get a certification in organics, just so they can label their products to follow the trends. It’s out of a mission to sell, and not out of a passion of what the love and believe! Much like the low-fat/low-carb crazes of the past. Although the Parducci Estate (and many of their other properties) have certifications in every arena including Biodynamics, their estate – which was founded in 1932 – is also fully green powered, is a safe habitat for many animals, and even local kids have been found swimming in the fresh water ponds.

Now to the wine itself. A very fitting name and design for the estate, organically and biodynamically farmed fruit, from a truly sustainable property is “True Grit” Reserve wines from Parducci Wine Cellars. As our featured winery for this month we are offering the whole line (Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Blend, and Petite Sirah (awarded 94 points with Wine & Spirits magazine and top 100 best buys for 2015)), all line priced at $20.

When it comes to farming in a way that is beneficial for future generations, Tim Thornhill is helping lead the way. I believe he can relate to John Wayne in many ways. One of which is staying true to who he is, and for his family and future generations. Wayne said this in an interview with Time Magazine in June of 1967: “In my acting, I have to identify with something in the character. The big tough boy on the side of right – that’s me. Simple themes. Same me from the nuances. All I do is sell sincerity and I’ve been selling the hell out of that ever since I started.”