Dario Sattui is well known in the Napa Valley as the entrepreneur behind two successful Napa Valley wineries, V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena and Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga. But what many may not know is that Dario Sattui cares deeply about environmental issues and agricultural land preservation, and that he also supports education and vocational programs for youth. It was just announced that he has pledged $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Helena and Calistoga for construction of a permanent Calistoga club facility. Sattui will attend the club’s board of directors meeting on March 20th to present two $500,000 checks, one each from V. Sattui Winery and Castello di Amorosa.
The donation was a perfect fit as the Boys and Girls Club will also teach the children about environmental issues. Sattui believes in order to preserve the land, we must start by educating children. “The Club will teach about the environment and how important it is to preserve it, especially the precious environment in Napa County,” Sattui said. “It will teach of the value of agriculture, and teach nutrition as well as exercise.” He continued, “The Club will tutor kids, teach computer skills, among others, and provide guidance counselors.”
Additionally, for the past eight years V. Sattui has partnered with the Napa Valley Vintners “Adopt-a-School program,” for which V. Sattui yearly hosts 125 students from the 8th grade class of the Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School. The students arrive at 9 am and are greeted by Sattui who speaks to the students of his family’s 19th Century immigration to the USA, and a history of the winery including how they survived prohibition in the 1920s. They then break into small groups where they attend short lectures presented by the V. Sattui executive management team on topics such as the science of winemaking, mathematical applications in business, and language arts as it applies to communication with consumers and employees. At noon students are then treated to a picnic lunch.
Similarly, Castello di Amorosa hosts the school’s 7th grade students providing them with a hands-on historical tour of the 12th century Tuscan castle-winery.
For Sattui, the Adopt- a-School giving is ongoing, both in cash and in-kind. For example, V. Sattui Winery encourages student exercise by providing a grant to the hiking club. Additionally, the winery has delivered a catered lunch from the gourmet Marketplace and Deli as recognition for teachers, staff and administrators. Furthermore, V. Sattui Winery participated in a Summer Scavenger Hunt as well as being a large contributor to the Yosemite scholarship fund field trip for the eighth graders of RLS Middle School.
Sattui is also a significant supporter of Napa Valley Hospice, Hands Across the Valley, St. Helena Family Center’s Student Assistance Program and the Napa Valley Land Trust. In the last 10 years, V. Sattui Winery has protected over 550 acres in the Napa Valley with conservation easements that restrict the development of land with homes and preserves hundreds of acres of vineyards, oak woodlands and grassland open space forever. He also has an active role with the Festival del Sole to help bring music to the Napa Valley.
V. Sattui Winery is pleased to announce it has been selected as a 2013 winner in The Knot Best of Weddings, a special section featured on TheKnot.com/BOW. TheKnot.com the number-one wedding destination, most trusted by brides.
This is the second year V. Sattui Winery has been voted top pick for The Knot Best of Weddings! Special thanks to all of our amazing brides and grooms!
Late harvest is a term applied to wines made from grapes left on the vine longer than most other wine grapes. The grapes themselves are often raisined, or nearly so, but have been naturally dehydrated on the vine. We allow botrytis to develop—a beneficial fungus that, in response to the humidity of warm days and cool, misty mornings, shrivels the fruit of its water content but preserves its acidity and natural sugars. It takes careful cultivation—and ideal conditions—to foster the growth of this fungus (botrytis cinerea, also called “the noble rot”), for if the weather is unremittingly damp, or rains come shortly before harvest, the botrytis spores run rampant, causing “gray rot” that spreads throughout the clusters, spoiling the fruit.
Even in favorable conditions, harvest workers typically have to go through the vineyard several times to hand-pick the choicest bunches; and often the usable grapes from a single vine may only produce enough juice for a single bottle.
You’ll find that we have been successful once again with a small lot of Riesling that we fostered through the late fall months of 2011 and were rewarded with an amazingly concentrated and intensely flavored after-dinner wine. Rich and sweet, there’s a very desirable honeyed and complex nature to both its aromas and flavors, reminiscent of dried apricot, tangerine and vanilla.
The vines are dormant; but mustard and other cover crops are allowed to bloom to prevent erosion, then are plowed under to add nutrients to the soil. Our crews are pruning and setting trellis systems. Swarms of starlings arrive to pick off the last of the vines’ berries. In the Winery, most fermentations are complete. Sauvignon Blanc is bottled
February Pruning and vine preparations are complete. The later the prune, the later the flowering, hopefully outmaneuvering a May frost. Sprinkler systems and wind machines are made ready for frosty spring mornings. Wines such as Chardonnay and Sémillon are bottled. Glass, labels and capsules must be ready for the bulk of the bottling that lies ahead.
The growing season is officially under way with budbreak, a stage when vine buds crack open and small shoots emerge. This is the beginning of the new crop. In the Winery, we now begin racking—siphoning off the clear wine from the sediment. Racking can occur three or four times during the winemaking process. Riesling is bottled.
Vines show thick clusters of new leaves. The vineyard crews remove tiny shoots so only vital vegetation is left. White wines are released. Blending for red varieties begins. Frost is a frequent threat. Wind machines, sprinklers—even helicopters—are used to protect the young crop. Zinfandel and Syrah are bottled.
Have you ever come across what appear to be white flakes floating in your bottle of wine? The result is similar to a snow globe. Or perhaps the cork has crystalized? Did you assume that this somehow meant the wine was flawed or ruined?
Video courtesy of Dr. Vino
What you had most likely seen are tartaric crystals, commonly referred to as "wine diamonds."
Tartrate crystals are not uncommon for wines that are minimally filtered. Mass market wines will usually be treated to minimize crystal and sediment precipitation. Tartrate crystals are colorless and add no flavor to the wine (in fact Crème de Tartar is used in cooking as a thickening agent), but can as you noted, cause the wine to be gritty. Here are a couple of things that should mitigate (not eliminate) this issue. First and foremost, we frequently recommend that wines purchased from any winery and shipped via a package express company be laid down and left to rest for 4 to 5 weeks. That will allow any sediment (or tartrate crystals) to settle to one side of the bottle. Then when you are ready to enjoy your rested wine, carefully decant the wine into a decanter, leaving perhaps an inch of wine in the bottom of the bottle. The shape of the bottom of most Bordeaux and many Burgundy bottles have a punt at the bottom, designed in part to help capture the sediment.
Those two steps: letting the wine rest after its bottle shock from travelling, and decanting the wine should minimize the appearance of sediment and tartrate crystals.
Jordan & James’s wedding was an evening that will go down in V. Sattui history. The love, beauty, and grace that encompassed the evening took one’s breath away. Yet again, Photographer Shannon Stellmacher, preserved the love and joy surrounding the evening through her stunning photography. An amazing team of vendors, including Elaine Bell Catering, Florabella, DJ Tony Sparks, Darlene & Jim Forbes, and of course the eye behind the design, Joann Holder, made for a flawless evening. Congratulations Jordan & James! We are forever grateful you gave us the honor of hosting your wedding at V. Sattui Winery.
The splendor of Vincent and Megan's wedding day could only be matched by the beautiful couple themselves. Shannon Stellmacher captured the beauty of the scene with rose petals lining the aisle. Guests enjoyed V. Sattui's Dry Riesling and famous Gamay Rouge while the happy couple took photos on the Vittorio Terrace and then headed down to the Barrel Room to celebrate with a reception. V. Sattui was proud to host their friends and family for a June wedding to remember!
Congratulations to Jung & Won in their recent wedding here at V. Sattui Winery! The couple enjoyed the beauty of October's cooler weather in elegance. Photographed by Sylvain Gentile, http://sylvaingentile.com/blog, the lovely couple toasted their special day with family and friends, and shared an evening of celebration. We wish you both the best!