By Ethan Fletcher
in jeans and a sweatshirt, Julio Palmaz doesn't give the impression of
being the millionaire inventor of a medical device that has saved many
lives. Just as his Palmaz Vineyards, located virtually unmarked off a
windy country road on the outskirts of Napa, doesn't seem all that
extraordinary at first glance. But like the winery, which houses one of
the most sophisticated underground wine-making operations in the world,
Palmaz has more going on than meets the eye.
and youthful looking at 63, Palmaz was born outside of Buenos Aires-his
father, a bus driver, used to send the young Julio to the store to fill
up glass jugs with wine. After attending medical school in Argentina,
he came to the United States in 1977 for his residency at UC Davis, and
it was while living in the Bay Area that Palmaz and his wife, Amalia,
discovered the magic of Napa Valley.
"I had this little white Triumph Spitfire, and we used to love exploring Wine Country on the weekends," Palmaz recalls.