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Vino In My Dino

A Season of Celebrations

August 31, 2017 08:50

A Season of Celebrations

While July 22 was the epicenter of our 90th anniversary because it was the date in 1927 when my grandparents bought the winery, vineyard and home mid-Prohibition we have had many other celebrations both big and small. In July our trade and media partners joined us followed by our club members who joined us on August 12 where, on both occasions, we enjoyed a full day of flagship flights, vineyard dedication, bubbly, big bottle receptions and dinner in the Barrel Room.

I wanted to excerpt a couple of things I learned from two of our July guests. Nationally syndicated columnist Dan Berger led our guests through two flights of our library wines (Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon). Author and wine writer Dick Rosano spoke to the Italian influence on winemaking in America. Here is something Dick spoke about which merits repeating: In 1833, the Mexican government sold off the missions and their wineries. Mexico still controlled the American west coast (California wasn’t admitted as a state until 1850), and when they ended the subsidies of the missions in California, the wineries were turned over to private ownership, a step which represents the beginning of commercial winemaking in the Golden State. The Great Migration 1880-1920 brought millions of Europeans to the United States, including more than four million Italians. This influx of Europeans coincided with the spectacular growth of vineyards and wineries in California, where the “touch” of the Old World was critical in changing the perception of wine. Note of irony: In the midst of this period (1890s), Italians who were considered “foreigners” were denied the right to buy valley floor vineyards, thought to be the “prime” land. Of course, the Italians knew, as we now know, that hillside vineyards such as at Pedroncelli, are the best. A final note here wrapping up the first century of commercial wine in the U.S.: Prohibition was repealed in 1933-100 years after the wineries were privatized.

From Dan came this as he wrapped up the Flights tasting and frankly brought many of us to tears: The Pedroncelli Family has always done things without a lot of fanfare because the entire goal was always to make fine wine affordably, and to do so with as little ostentation as possible. Even the location of the winery tasting room is in a less visible location than it might have been, off the main highway. And the wines have always reflected the quiet personality of the owners, with structure and balance, varietal integrity, and respect for the land as the key components. It is no wonder that so many people who became affiliated with the family decades ago have chosen to remain loyal to them and to honor the family's traditions. As such, the wines never displayed any artificiality, such as slatherings of new oak, high alcohol, or artificial extract that could possibly destroy the drinkability of the product. They have always had the grace that marks great wine, not the more recent explosiveness that may be flashy, but is short-lived. To have done this for 90 years and maintain the respect of the entire industry is not only an achievement but a worthy goal that has been achieved far under the radar. But that's the style of the Pedroncelli family. It is a joy to participate in such a celebration.

The highlight for me was seeing so many longtime friends both from the wholesale side as well as the consumer side. It was also overwhelming to me because we were celebrating 90 years-9 decades-of family ownership, dedication, vision and it all boiled down to what was in our wine glasses. If you’d like to join us for another event we’ll be toasting the end of our 90th harvest on October 14 with our friends as well as our grape growers. A toast with some Zinfandel in my Dino to the Next 90!


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