Ron Sciandri Sr. didn’t set out to be a vintner. When he and his wife purchased a Coombsville property with a picturesque pond and flourishing fauna, Sciandri Sr. dreamed of an Italian-style farm. One with fruit trees and seasonal vegetables that his grandkids could harvest and bring home to his daughter, Rebecca, to make dinner. The 20-acre grounds could hold a culinary garden and then some, so Sciandri Sr. decided to plant and sell grapes to winemakers.
Seven years later, at Sciandri Sr.’s 60th birthday party, the extended family enjoyed bottles of wine made with his grapes. They couldn’t help but ask him: why not create your own label? When it came time to harvest the next crop in 2006, Sciandri Sr. didn’t sell grapes. He started to make wine. His philosophy? “The only way to make excellent wine is to start with excellent fruit,” Rebecca remembers. “We spend most of our year trying to make the best fruit possible, and then we babysit the fermentation process.” Winemaker Don Baker prefers “to let the fruit show the way” by not overcrowding the crop, which results in less fruit, but more concentrated flavor.
This idea of not overcomplicating things is the heartbeat of Sciandri Family Vineyards. Today, they produce between 500 and 600 cases per year—only about 30 barrels. On the label is the Sciandri motto, “vino con un tocco di familia,” which is Italian for “wine with a touch of family.” There’s no better phrase to describe this family-owned and operated micro-winery, which Rebecca, her mother Roberta, and her brothers, Ron Jr. and Ryan, currently run. “It’s a dance of art and science and winemaking—and letting the vintage tell its own story” is how Rebecca describes what’s coming. “We're not here to make huge corrections. We're here to help the fruit find balance and beauty in the bottle.”
How to Taste Sciandri Family Vineyards: With only five acres of planted vineyards, Sciandri is too small to have an on-site hospitality center. Luckily, they are part of Mia Carta, a cooperative tasting room in downtown Napa. Here you can try their current releases as well as library vintages. On Thursdays during October, from 5 to 7 pm, Rebecca will be there personally pouring the wine. You can also schedule an appointment to taste their wines at the production facility and get a behind the scenes look at the process. Email Rebecca for details and availability.
Known For: A love of learning. Once the Sciandri’s mastered Cabernet Sauvignon, they moved on to produce a few Cabernet blends, including a Bordeaux-style field blend named after Sciandri Sr.’s father Nello.
Wine Club 411: Choose from four, six, or 12 customizable bottle shipments twice a year. The family processes the shipments themselves with all hands on deck, from wives, brothers, kids, and cousins working together to get them ready to ship out across the country.
Fun Fact: People told the Sciandris that a blue label would never sell wine, but they stood by their choice, since it represented their family flag in Italy. Today the color, affectionately known as Sciandri blue, is a key identifier of the sought-after bottles.