Discovering Stefano, Raffaella, and Il Cantinone

Stefano and Raffa- black and white
Stefano and Raffaella in the kitchen of their restaurant, Il Cantinone, in Madesimo, Italy.

This week we are getting ready to host our first Pop-Up Dinner with Chef Stefano Masanti and his wife, Raffaella.  Our winery president, Tom Davies, met Stefano and Raffaella a few years ago while traveling with his wife and daughter through Italy.  It was actually Tom’s daughter, Michaela, who chose the small, charming hotel in the town of Madesimo as their destination.  Little did the Davies family know that stop would include one of the most delicious and memorable meals, and would lead to a long friendship between the two families, and now, their businesses too.  

Michaela shares her version of discovering Stefano, Raffaella, and their Il Cantinone Restaurant:

I first met Stefano Masanti and Raffaella Mazzina when I was traveling in Italy with my parents. We were staying in Sesto Calende, near where my family originated, and not sure of our next move. As a fourteen year old flipping through guidebooks, my criteria for a hotel exhausted itself at ‘has a pool’. However, something about the Sport Hotel Alpina, located in the Italian Alps, stuck; I shared this with my parents and we headed there the next day.

Round plate- cropped
One of Stefano’s creative dishes served at Il Cantinone.

When we arrived, we found the hotel also had a small restaurant called Il Cantinone.  Shortly after arriving we ordered food. Lots of food. The best food I have ever had. Stefano prepared his tasting menu for us, which essentially entails course after course of creativity and the juxtaposition of wonderful flavor profiles. Raffaella, an exceptional Sommelier, carefully selected and poured each wine. While my mother and I had to bow out after a handful of courses, my father continued to taste well into the double-digits. Even as a young teenager, I considered that meal one of the most impressive experiences I have ever been part of.

Harvest Ball. I knew Stefano and Raffaella were special when they simply said “yes”. While I was undoubtedly excited for the beginning of the relationship between Stefano and Raffaella and V. Sattui, I had no idea what that would ultimately mean to me.

Each year from April to November, Stefano and Raffaella join us as our in-house special events chef and catering manager, respectively. Following my graduation from college last May, I began working alongside Stefano and Raffaella at V. Sattui. I always had a deep respect for their relationship and partnership with the Winery and my family; however, I did not expect that a year later Stefano and Raffaella would be among my dearest friends.

Stefano- 2014 Harvest Ball
Stefano at work at V. Sattui’s Harvest Ball in September, 2014.

Stefano and Raffaella share both their goodness and talent with everyone and to be honest, it is hard to say which outshines the other. Among the most humble and generous people I know, Stefano and Raffaella also boast monumental accomplishments in the world of food and hospitality.

In addition to Stefano receiving a Michelin star, their restaurant, Il Cantinone, was named the best Italian restaurant that promotes local food and farmers by Gambero Rosso, a well-respected food and wine publication. Furthermore, Il Cantinone was selected as one of the best 60 restaurants in Italy and top 10 in Lombardia by L’Espresso Guide. Stefano is also Vice President of “CHIC, Charming Italian Chef”, one of the most important chefs’ associations of this time. Finally, Stefano was awarded Italian Chef of the Year for the promotion of Italian culture at the 2014 Merano Wine Festival.

I am so happy they have become family to both me and to the Winery I was raised in, and that we now have the opportunity to share their magic and the exceptionality of their restaurant with you at the Il Cantinone Pop-Up Dinner! Trust me, you do not want to miss this one.

Romantic Moments at a Wine Country Wedding

Call it sappy, but here at V. Sattui we just love love! We can’t help it, we’re hopeless romantics! There’s nothing sweeter than the happiness between two love birds joining their lives together, and we’re lucky to get to witness it so often. We’ve seen so many beautiful and romantic moments, and we want to share them with you! Here are some of our favorites.

 

IMG_0208

How perfect is it that her bouquet matches the colors of the sunset?

IMG_0179

This couple didn’t let a little rain spoil their night! They can tough out any storm together.

IMG_0414

We loved this couple’s private little dance within the vineyard. So romantic!

IMG_0198

Peek-a-boo! This veiled kiss is just the cutest.

IMG_0200

Sometimes you just need a moment away from the hustle and bustle of the wedding to enjoy each other’s company.

IMG_0196

The barrels are such a fun backdrop for this stolen moment!

 

 

 

Making Centerpieces the Center of Attention at your Destination Wedding!

Here at V. Sattui, we love it when brides get creative with their centerpieces. The wedding meal is such an important part of the celebration, and the table decorations can really make a huge statement! These days, brides are steering clear of bland and boring flower vase designs and old school decorations like mirrors and floating candles, and instead coming up with much more unique ideas that show more of their personality. Here are some of our favorites that we’ve seen!

Forget the vase, these candelabra-based flower arrangements are way trendier! The height really elevates –pun intended—the elegance of the table, and we love having flowers and leaves trickle down from above.

Megan Reeves Photography_017 IMG_0474 photo20 R. Wood Photo-43

Speaking of adding height to the tables, check out these beautiful branch decorations! The hanging flowers and crystals helped make this look extra magical.

photo16 IMG_0157

We love how these Disney-themed and rustic-themed weddings went for a non-traditional approach by opting for centerpieces that weren’t just flowers! The silhouettes and the barrels were such creative touches.

Disney Themed Barrel Room IMG_0155

Napa Valley Summer Weddings – Warm Days and Warm Hearts!

Summer is right around the corner, and we’re loving all this warm weather we’ve been having! One of the reasons this sunshine is so great is because it opens up a lot of opportunities for some gorgeous outdoor weddings. Take a peek here at some of our favorite set ups! Special thanks to photographer Alexander Rubin for helping us capture them!

Nothing says sunshine quite like yellow! We love the playfulness of this hombre flower-petal aisle, especially in contrast to the sophisticated wrought-iron chairs.

Courtyard with yellow petals - Winks photo
Photo Cred: Alexander Rubin
Fav_0050
Photo Credit: Alexander Rubin

Lawn weddings are quintessentially summery, and the sunflowers with pops of red make this wedding whimsical and fun! The mix-matched ultra-comfy seats are a casual and unique twist too.

Fav_0121
Photo Credit: Alexander Rubin
Fav_0126
Photo Credit: Alexander Rubin

Vineyards are the perfect backdrop to a rustic, country-themed wedding, and we this set up is the perfect match for that! Our favorite part is the red truck, which is actually a cooler! That truck puts the “fun” in functional!

Fav_0144
Photo Credit: Alexander Rubin
Fav_0155
Photo Credit: Alexander Rubin

One of the best things about summer is the warm summer nights! Twinkling lights in the dark are so romantic, so we’re happy it’s warm enough to stay outside and enjoy them!

IMG_0265

IMG_0461

Auction Napa Valley- Participate With Us!

barrel_auction_tanks
A peek at Auction Napa Valley 2015 at Hall Winery

It’s great to be in Napa Valley any time of year, but this week is a bit more colorful, glamorous, and generous. Auction Napa Valley begins Thursday, June 2nd, and runs through Sunday, June 5th. This is one of the most celebrated charity wine events, and the benefits from it linger much longer than just four days.

Auction Napa Valley is hosted by the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) association, and with the generosity of bidders, vintners, event partners and volunteers, we are all creating a healthier community for children, families and adults. The NVV’s contributions to community health and children’s education nonprofits allow them to serve more than 100,000 clients of all ages annually.

At V. Sattui, we are proud to partner with the NVV and support these efforts to keep Napa County one of the best communities to live, work, and visit. We have created an E-Auction Lot, which allows both folks attending Auction Napa Valley, and those who cannot physically be here to participate in the event too. The E-Auction is open now and closes on Sunday, June 5th. Our lot is an Imperial sized bottle of 2012 Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon. This is equal to eight regular sized (750 ml) bottles of one of our best single vineyard Napa Valley Cabernets. It has won several awards and earned numerous points, including being named “Wine of the Year” and “Best Cabernet” by the 2016 Monterey International Wine Competition.

school_aim_high

We hope you’ll make a bid on this E-Auction lot, and we hope you win!

 

 

Creative Touches for A Wine Country Wedding

With wine making and wedding planning, one thing is always true: It’s all about the details! Both making wine and planning a wedding are such fun creative processes, and we love seeing how brides and grooms find fun and unique ways to incorporate their winery wedding location into the theme of their wedding! Here are some of our favorite wine country wedding ideas we’ve seen! Big thanks to photographer Ken Viale for capturing these images for us!

Using a large-format bottle as a guest book

Let’s be honest, how often do wedded couples go back and read the guest book signed at their wedding? Having a signed large-format wedding bottle on display not only looks a lot more fun, but gives you a token to enjoy for years to come!

Ken Viale Photography-146
Photo Credit: Ken Viale
0058-© Ken Viale
Photo Credit: Ken Viale

Having a wine blending ceremony

We love the idea of a wine ceremony – blending a red and a white wine together – as a creative way to symbolize two people coming together as one. It’s fun, romantic, and tastes pretty good too!

Ken Viale Photography-21
Photo Credit: Ken Viale

Using Corks as Functional Decorations

There are so many fun and creative ways to use corks within your wedding! Some of our personal favorites have been using them as place holders and as ring holders!

Ken Viale Photography-182
Photo Credit: Ken Viale
0136-© Ken Viale
Photo Credit: Ken Viale

Wine makes the prettiest backdrop!

Whether it be barrels or bottles, wine always photographs well!

Ken Viale Photography-117
Photo Credit: Ken Viale
Ken Viale Photography-115
Photo Credit: Ken Viale

April Showers Bring May Flowers to Weddings in Wine Country!

Love isn’t the only thing in bloom this time of year! Here at V. Sattui we’re not only surrounded by our lush and beautiful gardens, but by the many stunning flower arrangements we see at all of our weddings! To celebrate spring and all the beauty it brings, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite wedding florals. Big thanks to photographer Shannon Stellmacher for preserving these flowers with your photos!

White is a timelessly classic look, and we love how these white flowers add a little pop of life to this elegant table setting.

0001

For those who prefer color, why not opt for mismatched bouquets?

wedding wildflowers v. sattui

If traditional isn’t really your thing, we love the mostly green bouquets we’ve been seeing lately. It’s a fun way to add a trendy and natural touch to your look!

three

Flowers aren’t just for bouquets! We love the way this couple used flowers as an aisle and a back drop.

V. Sattui Wedding Ceremony 1b

Viva Moscato!

(14) MoscatoWARNING: Consumption of this product may cause uncontrollable humming, skipping and dancing.

Happy Moscato Day! Millions of folks on the northern side of the Mediterranean Sea from Portugal and Spain to Italy and Greece can’t be wrong as it is widely grown and enjoyed. For many, a sip of Moscato is like a sip of sunshine. You just have to smile.

One place on which the wine world’s spotlight shines is Asti in Northern Italy’s Piemonte Region. Here, Asti Spumante is produced, which is moscato refermented into a sparkling wine with the same effervescent pressure as a Champagne – La Spuma is “the foam” in Italian. Numerous places throughout Italy produce a sparkling wine with less effervescence (about the same as Prosecco) called Moscato Frizzante – La frizza means “the gas” in Italian.

V. Sattui Moscato is fashioned in a very Italian style and the wine is “carbonated” naturally by a second fermentation in a sealed stainless steel tank which does not allow the natural bubbles to escape; just like Spumante. Fermenting in a bottle creates a yeasty wine because of the wine’s intimate contact with yeast. Fermenting in a much larger vessel reduces yeast contact to the point where the wine’s delicate fruitiness remains essentially intact.proscuitto-wrapped-figs

Our Moscato Frizzante exudes the personality of the Muscat grape with peach, orange blossoms and melon. La Frizza creates a lovely edge in the wine which prevents the subtle sweetness from being cloying. A marvelous dessert wine on a hot summer night.

Please DO attempt this at home: cut a little pocket in a Mission fig and stuff it with a semi soft goat cheese. Wrap with prosciutto and affix it to the fig with a water soaked toothpick. Grill until the cheese runs a bit and the prosciutto becomes crisp. Place on a platter, serve V. Sattui Moscato and stand back so that you can watch your guests’ knees buckle.

Wineries and Weddings, A Match Made in Heaven (AKA Wine Country)

Vineyards and wineries have long evoked notions of romance. Their rustic, vintage charm and earthy atmosphere create a magical setting unlike any other. It’s no surprise that an increasing number of brides-to-be are jumping on the winery wedding bandwagon these days, especially in California. Here at V. Sattui, we’re proud to share our beautiful landscape with our brides and grooms, and are thrilled to help make their special day extra beautiful. We love every aspect of the weddings we host here in wine country, but we’ll narrow it down here to our top 5 favorite reasons! Also, special thanks to photographers Richard Wood and Ken Viale for capturing these moments!
1. Gorgeous Landscapes in Every Season
Between the lush green leaves of spring and summer, the spectacular crimson and gold leaves of fall, and the delicate cover crop flowers of winter, our vineyards serve as a stunning backdrop during every season!

brightvines

1vinescene

autumnal

2. Rustic Charm
The rustic atmosphere of a winery takes you back in time to simpler days, and evokes a cozy, intimate feeling.

lean

photo

goldroom

3. Wineries are a Perfect Setting for Beautiful Florals
What’s a wedding without beautiful flowers, right? Here at V. Sattui, our natural landscape perfectly complements beautifully crafted floral arrangements.

photo 2

bouquet

gardenflowers

4. We Love Wine!
Everyone looks forward to sipping on something delicious at a wedding, and winery weddings definitely cater to that need! In a time when the “farm to table” trend is so popular, why not carry it through with “vineyard to glass”?

wine bucket

drinkscellar

5. Wineries Offer Unique and Personal Options for Décor
It’s fun to tie in decorations and party favors with the theme of the venue!

ring

bw bottle

gift wine

Sweet Emotions at V Sattui Winery Weddings

Weddings are truly joyous occasions. The dresses, the food, reuniting with friends and family, and all the other details that come together in a wedding, all add up to a really great party. Weddings are more than just a fun party though, they’re also very personal and emotional. At V. Sattui, we’re lucky to get to share these emotions with our couples by laughing along with their funny memories, witnessing moments that tug at our heartstrings, and experiencing what makes each couple unique. Here are a few of our favorite memories, captured by photographers Richard Wood and Ken Viale, that display some of these emotions.

This groom, overcome with emotion, can’t believe his luck when he sees his bride for the first time.

blog 2

Though it is amazing to be surrounded by friends and family, it’s important to take a moment to catch your breath and cherish the special moments before you say “I do”.

blog 3

A wedding is emotional for everyone involved, not just the bride and groom, as displayed by these proud parents.

blog 4

This happy bride is excited to celebrate her new marriage and her love of V. Sattui wine. Cheers!

blog final

There is nothing more sweet and tender than a first dance, and knowing you’ve found your forever dance partner.

more 1

This bride is literally jumping for joy, as she has found a man to sweep her off her feet!

final final

Celebrating 40 years of Doing Business in the Napa Valley!

Today we celebrate the day V. Sattui winery opened its doors in Napa Valley, 40 years ago!

A Dream Come True

Vittorio Sattui
Vittorio Sattui, founder of V. Sattui Winery and Dario Sattui’s Great Grandfather

Dario Sattui’s Great Grandfather originally started V. Sattui Winery in San Francisco in 1885.  The winery was forced to close in 1920 when Prohibition became law.  But on March 4, 1976, Dario’s dream of resurrecting the family winery in Napa Valley became a reality.  He remembers opening day well.

“I was really nervous,” says Dario.  “My wife at the time thought opening a winery was a crazy idea.  I was optimistic.  I knew I was willing to work hard, and I had dreamed of reopening my great grandfather’s winery for years.  We made $141 in 9 hours on that first day.  We collected it in a wooden box since we didn’t even have a cash register.  I started to think maybe my wife was right.”

But Dario persisted.  At the end of the first year he’d sold 1800 cases and made a small profit.  But it came at a cost.  Dario and his wife lived very frugally.  At one point he needed to store barrels of wine, and the only extra space he had was the living room of the tiny house behind the winery.  The weight of the barrels was so heavy, the floor started to sink, and eventually the foundation had to be fixed!

Tom- Davies
Tom Davies- President of V. Sattui Winery

“You name it, we didn’t have it,” says Tom Davies, who was hired in 1980 and one of the first 10 employees at the winery.  Today, he is the President and a co-owner of V. Sattui.  “When we used the phone, we called people collect most of the time.  We used pitch forks to move our grapes into the hopper during harvest.  We didn’t have equipment for that.”

The small winery crew even corked and labeled their bottles of wine by hand.

Innovation Leads to Success

Although budgets were tight, Tom says it was a thrilling time to be at V. Sattui and in the wine industry.

“I wanted to be in the wine business, and it was exciting!  Any given day we were doing something different, and we were learning as we were doing it.  There was a lot of innovation and we were pioneers.  We had to be.”

That innovation led to V. Sattui being one of the very first wineries to start a wine club and events for members like our annual Harvest Ball.  V. Sattui was the first in Napa Valley to offer wine futures, host weddings, and create our world-famous Italian deli, expansive cheese case, and gorgeous picnic grounds.

Rick Rosenbrand, Dario Sattui
V. Sattui’s first winemaker, Rick Rosenbrand tastes a barrel sample with Dario Sattui

Success followed.  In 1983 V. Sattui won its first medal- a bronze for a Chardonnay.

“I was the winemaker, and I wasn’t a very good one,” says Dario.  “I couldn’t afford a winemaker, so I learned from my mistakes, and got help from people along the way.  I was elated when we won a bronze medal!”

The medals kept coming, and in 1990 Dario promoted Rick Rosenbrand, to winemaker, whose father was also a winemaker at Beaulieu Vineyard.  Eventually Brooks Painter was hired as winemaker and continues his reign today, making 60 different wines.  Just recently V. Sattui’s 2014 Los Carneros Chardonnay received a 92-point score from the Wine Spectator and won the Sweepstakes for White Wines at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.  The SF Chronicle Competition also awarded us two “Best of Class” categories, 4 Double Gold medals, and 11 Gold medals.   We believe our winemaking skills have definitely matured with us!

Brooks Painter
Brooks Painter, V. Sattui’s current winemaker

Future

Dario and Tom plan for V. Sattui to continue making the best wines we can, and will continue to provide a great experience when you come to visit us.  The V. Sattui staff loves to share things we love: good wine, hand-crafted foods, and gathering with friends.  We plan to keep doing that for at least the next 40 years!

Spring Weddings Are In The Air at V. Sattui!

We can hardly contain ourselves as our spring weddings are right around the corner! A huge thank you to photographers: Ken Viale, Richard Wood, and Marie A Rummel, for sharing the images below.  Their artful eyes capture the magic of these unforgettable moments!

Spring in Napa Valley is one of the most beautiful times of the year.  You’ll find pretty yellows, greens, pink and classic ivories –all of which make us want to exclaim “I do”!

The combination of new buds in bloom and clean, fresh air also makes taking photos a breeze. Add in Napa Valley’s golden sunsets, and you see why V. Sattui is the perfect destination for blissful beginnings.

Ooh, and the breeze carries the aromas of our fresh lavender !  All the more reason to sneak one last kiss before the ceremony.

The wild mustards glow almost as bright as the look in our couples’ eyes as they enjoy their first moments in wedded bliss. Are you ready to go mad for our mustard? #mustardmadness

But, nothing shines as bright as the smiles and lightheartedness of bridesmaids who are giddy from the aromas of fresh roses.

In April we get to reunite with our favorite Michelin-star Italian chef, Stefano Masanti, and his beautiful partner in life, and in all things gourmet, Raffa!   From April into November they will create unforgettable wedding receptions at V. Sattui including Stefano’s creative, delicious cuisine and Raffa’s attention to every detail in the service and decoration of each couples’ dream day.

C’mon Spring Fever!  We are ready!  Have any spring V. Sattui wedding moments you’d like to share?  We’d love to hear from you!