February is a month filled with thoughts by many of one thing…..LOVE.
For others, it is a month filled with tradition, passion and dreams. The Antinori family has been involved in the production of wine for over six centuries, since 1385. 26 generations later, the winery is run by Marquis Piero Antinori with the support of his three daughters.
Tradition, passion and intuition have been the driving principles that have led this family business to become a leader in Italian wine. Their estates, located in Tuscany and Umbria, have produced some of the finest Italian wines in the world. Based on traditional winemaking along with the introduction of New World varietals, you are sure to find Antinori wines, both red and white, to suit any occasion in any price range.
The family’s latest venture in California is a true blend of both the old and the new world’s of Italy and California. The new winery is located in Napa Valley and called – Antica – short for Antinori, California. Since 1966 it’s been Piero’s dream to purchase land in Napa and 40 years later, his dream has become a reality. Producing mountain fruit of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, these gems do not disappoint.
Gaetano and Giovan Baltista Bertani founded Bertani winery in 1857. Based in Veneto, Italy, they were the first Veronese producers to export their wines on a significant scale. Known for their Valpolicella (made from Corvina and Rodinella grapes), They later took center stage with the launch of Recioto della Valpolicella which dramatically was transformed into the wines we know today as Amarone. One of Italy’s most revered wines, 150 years later, Bertani still carries out tradition and passion producing quality old world style wines from the Veneto.
If the rocks could speak, the vineyard of Concannon Winery would tell you its rich history of the desire, drive and passion of James Concannon. Concannon is the first successful California winery to be founded by an Irish immigrant. With four generations of family involvement and over 125 acres of prime vineyards, the family introduced the first varietally named Petite Sirah with its first vintage in 1961. Believing that a grape known for its small berries and bold concentrated flavor could thrive in California, Jim Concannon became the prime mover behind the “little grape that could.” In 2011, this little grape Petite Sirah, celebrated 50 years.
Having heard the traditional dreams of some old iconic wineries, there is one to mention of more recent origins. Dave Matthews is best known by his day job as a musician, but his passion for winemaking stretches back nearly as far as his love for music. Partnering with veteran winemaker Steve Reeder who has been making wine in Sonoma for over two decades, the two together produce Dreaming Tree Wines out of the Alexander Valley in California. According to Matthews “A lot of imagination goes into both the creation of music and the creation of wine.”
Achieving results by traditional and gentle winemaking, Groom Wines out of Australia are expressive and each wine tells a story. Winemaker Daryl Groom, once winemaker at Penfolds, started Groom winery with his first vintage of Shiraz in 2000. The unforgiving soils in the vineyard producing low yields, loose clusters and extremely small berries attracted Daryl to the land. It was his passion and knowledge that led him to produce Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and Shiraz all from Australia. Daryl’s newest wine out of California, Colby Red, was named after his son who was born with a hole in his heart. Every bottle sold Colby Red supports charities that promote heart health. Colby travels around the United States sharing his story and in 2013 raised over $400,000 for heart charities and families across USA and Canada.
This month is filled with opportunity! Like these wineries, and their stories, embark on your own journey. Create your own dreams, start your own traditions and taste the passion.
Kimberly Fisher is Director of Fine Wine sales for Badger Liquor – Wine & Spirits