Horse Rock Olive Oil
From a young age growing up in Napa Valley, Celeste White loved to ride horses. She took advantage of the trails and vineyards of the Valley, and it became as much a part of her as the lush gardens and homemade wines.
In 1989, Celeste and her husband Robert White bought a ranch near Yountville – near the center of the Napa Valley – for their equestrian hobby. The small vineyard on the hills were also a draw, and the White’s sold grapes for several years. At the time, the Mission olive trees digging deep in the volcanic soil were just a bonus.
But soon, while raising their four children, she began making her own boutique olive oil for friends and family, and it was hailed as “the best they’ve ever tasted.”
Sometime during the past 150 year history of the ranch, someone carved a horse’s head in the stone barn. It was the perfect name for Celeste’s burgeoning business, and Horse Rock Olive Oil was born.
The small artisan enterprise, with 50 trees, produces just two to three tons of olives each year. The estate grown, certified Extra Virgin olive oil is made in small batches. It is bottled in Glen Ellen in Sonoma Valley.
Horse Rock Olive Oil is rich with taste, history, love and life. After all, it was a bit of a small miracle that these trees were saved during the Atlas Peak Fire, that Celeste White and Robert White and their family purchased a farm where their love of horseback riding can be enjoyed through the trails of olive trees and grapevines, and they have created a product that for generations to come may come to define olive oils in the one of the world’s most famous regions.
A Brief History of Olive Oils
Dating back to Greek mythology, the olive tree – or more precisely, the olive branch – has been a symbol of peace. That where the saying “extending an olive branch” as a representation of ending major conflicts and minor skirmishes was born.
It’s your typical Greek clash: Mythology tells us that Zeus held a contest between Poseidon and Athena for control over Athens, asking both to make an offering. Poseidon smashed his trident against a rock, producing a spring, while Athena called forth an olive tree with soft, silver-green leaves and an abundance of fruit. Zeus declared Athena the winner, and the olive tree has been an important Greek mythological symbol ever since.
The olive branch reappears as a symbol of peace several more times in Greco-Roman mythology. The Roman poet Virgil uses the olive branch as a signifier of peace in the “Aeneid,” and Roman envoys used olive branches as tokens of peace during the Pax Romana.
And of course the god Mars had to get in the picture. While he was the Roman war czar, he was given the nickname Mars Pacifer, or Mars the bringer of peace. Some Roman coins depicted Mars Pacifer as holding an olive branch, demonstrating its symbolic connotations of peace.
Perhaps most importantly, the olive branch representation is still held tightly today. The Great Seal of the United States features America's national bird, the bald eagle, holding a clutch of arrows in one talon, symbolizing war, and an olive branch in the other, symbolizing peace. The branch also appears in many Grecian and Arab folk traditions.
However, the olive branch also represents friendship, and that and peace are what the White’s olives convey in every bottle of Horse Rock they bottle.