People

Gail & Carmen Policy, Founders.

Carmen Policy’s first career was that of a trial lawyer providing an opportunity to help defend and promote the interests of his clients in a competitive and dramatic setting. He expanded his efforts into the NFL in 1979 while still maintaining a successful career in law.  Carmen then joined the San Francisco 49ers organization, where he played a key role in all five of the 49ers' Super Bowl winning teams.  Thanks to his friend and client Eddie DeBartolo Jr. he was involved in helping to establish them as one of the preeminent franchises in all of sports. He and his wife Gail found their new life and their new home in San Francisco to be a virtual fairytale come true and moved there permanently in 1991.  They returned to Ohio for 5 years in 1998 as President, CEO and part owner of the Cleveland Browns expansion franchise.  Their plan was always to return to Northern California and they did so in 2004.  The San Francisco 49ers and the NFL became an extension of a strong sense of family that they both carried with them from their native Ohio.  After 25 years of happily competing in the world of professional sports and creating a treasure trove of memories, Gail and Carmen knew it was time for a change.  They found it in the amazing lifestyle and challenges that viticulture and the Napa Valley offered. Wine, sunshine, great food and romance were the enticements that could not be resisted.

Great wines taste best when they take their natural place on a table surrounded by family and friends. More than the sum of the flavors in a glass, savoring wine is about a lively shared experience with people you want to be with. This is the philosophy that inspires Casa Piena, which translated from Italian literally means FULL HOUSE.  The five major blocks of Policy Vineyard are named after each of Carmen’s three sons and two daughters (thus, three of a kind and a pair).  This marvelous combination now includes eight grandchildren which truly does create a HOUSE that is FULL.


Thomas Brown, Winemaker 

Thomas Rivers Brown was born in South Carolina to a family steeped in American History. He graduated from the University of Virginia where he studied Journalism but also developed an avid interest in wine.   Following his passion to the Napa Valley, Thomas began a career at Turley Cellars in the late 90’s as assistant winemaker to Ehren Jordan.

When Napa Cabernet is discussed, Thomas’ name and opinions are always mentioned.  He has become one of the most sought-after consulting winemakers in Napa Valley, making high-end Cabernet for many of the valley’s leading producers as well as numerous up and coming “cult” wineries. There is even a Thomas Rivers Brown method—a non-interventionist style that eschews technology and “all those elements that contribute to sameness.”

Thomas has been on the team at Casa Piena from the inception of the brand. His intuitive nature and eye for detail play a key role in the crafting of both Casa Piena and Our Gang wines. His aim is to taper the style to the terroir, producing a wine that tells the story of its origin.


Jim Barbour, Vineyard manager

Jim barbour is an outdoorsman and devoted fly fisherman.   When he’s not working in a vineyard, he can be found barbecuing in his backyard, relaxing at his mountain cabin, or knee-deep in the running waters of a stream filled with rainbows and browns. In his 30-plus year career, he has planted and managed some of Napa Valley’s most regarded vineyards, worked with its most respected winemakers, and been essential to the creation of some of its most highly rated wines.

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