• Going Italian

    April 23, 2018 16:46

    Going Italian

    What do you get when you combine 74 lovers of Italian food, wine and heritage? A wonderful evening where Pedroncelli wines were poured, delicious food was served and great conversations flourished. My parents Jim and Phyllis joined me as we talked about our history in Sonoma County and our roots in Italy to this group at a dinner sponsored by the North Bay Italian Cultural Foundation (NBICF) held at Riviera Ristorante in Santa Rosa.

    My family has deep Italian roots via my grandparents who arrived separately with their families from northern Italy in the early 1900s; my grandmother came with her mother and sister who met up with my great-grandfather in Redding, California. My grandfather traveled as a teenager with his sister when she was betrothed to marry a fellow Italian in Dunsmuir, California. Years later my grandfather Giovanni was selling vegetables to the hotel run by my great-grandparents and met my grandmother Julia on one of his stops. The rest was history and a few years later the young family, with three children-Margaret, Marianne and John, pulled up roots and moved to Geyserville where there was a home, a vineyard to tend and a shuttered winery waiting out Prohibition. I think part of the reason they moved to this area was because of the many other Italians who had made Dry Creek Valley home.

    The connection with NBICF began when my aunt Marianne moved back to Sonoma County in the early 1980s after working for the State of California. She joined this Italian-focused group as a way to network and find new friends. She was very proud of her heritage as an Italian-American, accent on the Italian. She practiced her Italian in small groups, traveled and went to many events over those years. We have kept in touch with NBICF since she passed away. They even started a scholarship in her name for any student wanting to continue their Italian language education at Santa Rosa Junior College.

    All in all we ‘went Italian’ along with everyone else at the dinner and enjoyed making new friends and visiting with old ones as well. Pedroncelli, after all, is Italian for La Dolce Vita. Saluti a tutti.

  • Matchmaker: Wine + Food

    December 9, 2015 11:44

    My partner in life and wine is my husband Ed. We were married 26 years ago today. 11 years ago we began working together here at the winery (and survived!). So what does this have to do with wine? It brings to my mind the relationship between wine and food and why this is such an important factor when I talk about our wines. It has to do with tradition and style.

    Coming from an Italian-American family, and a wine family to boot, food and wine have always been together as far back as I can remember. And by the looks of family meal photos predating my birth it seems it always has been. Traditions are begun at the table for most of us-whether it is who is here for the holidays (and where they sit) or a standing date night dinner out. Family traditions are begun by each generation echoing those of their predecessors and then making their own. For my family one of our traditions is a Prime Rib dinner on Christmas Eve. The table has grown as family is added but the importance for Ed and me are the faces around the table. The wines we pick to go with the meal are important too as they add so much to the celebration.

    The style of our wines is one which pairs well with food (or your glass as my husband likes to add). They stand on their own and the experience is heightened when added to a meal. Acidity in our wines helps bridge the wine with food because when in balance-between the fruit, tannins and acid-there is a great match made. Traditions and style go a long way in both our marriage and that of wine & food. Wine is the centerpiece of our lives and pairing with food is as natural to us as a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, and thou. A toast to 26 years with a splash of champagne in my Dino!

    My parents Jim and Phyllis, Ed and me at a holiday dinner mock up this summer-thanks to Dianna Murphy Photography!


    Holiday Dinner with Family

  • Varietally speaking: Sangiovese

    May 20, 2015 16:44

    Sangiovese is the focus varietal for today’s blog post featuring of the different grapes we grow. In the early 1990’s John Pedroncelli wanted to add an Italian varietal, in honor of our heritage, to our home ranch vineyard. We planted the first 2 acres in 1993 and it took to the hillside as if it were home. We named it Alto Vineyard, and soon another 3 acres followed on two other hills. We went into the California Chianti business. Yes, this grape is the backbone of Italy’s Chianti region. In number of acres planted in California, it is most widely planted in Sonoma County with 365 acres scattered around the many appellations in our county with a healthy amount taking root right here in Dry Creek Valley. The vineyard crew has learned these vines like to start early-usually the first at bud break and needs some hang-time on the vine to ripen properly-this is a high acid grape and the longer it hangs with the right climate the better it gets. You could say it is a vineyard I have seen mature from the early astringent days when we added Merlot to soften it to the recent 2012 vintage where it stands on its own as a true California Chianti with bright acidity balanced with perfectly ripened fruit. Now for a toast to our heritage!

    Our Alto Vineyards Sangiovese hugs the hillside terraces.

    Sangiovese Vineyards

  • VIMD On The Road

    November 11, 2014 13:10

    I ventured to Orlando last month for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. I met many wine fans from around the nation following the seminars where we presented three of our wines to a thirsty crowd. While there was a small glitch at the beginning of the first seminar (I was given the wrong time and was ‘on’ 2 hours earlier than expected) it forced me to get with the program quickly. And I was thankful my husband Ed was a co-speaker-it showed how 25 years of marriage, 12 of them working together at the winery, can help us deliver the Pedroncelli message on the fly. We walked the groups through the seasons at the winery and highlighted how three generations of the family have worked together to make our wines accessible, great values and approachable. Pedroncelli is Italian for ‘over-deliver’ after all.  I shared my VIMD story and asked the group to think of the first time they became passionate about wine-their first sip of homemade wine, Chardonnay or Champagne.  Wine is a great conversation starter whether you are around the dining room table or on the patio. Start one today about when and where you tasted your first sip in the comments below!

    Julie in Orlando