Wine Tasting Archives - V. Sattui Winery

Hidden Gems: Staff Spotlight on Kat Zide

When it comes to exceptional employees, V. Sattui Winery has the propensity to find “hidden gems” among our staff. Meet Kat Zide, Assistant Cheesemonger of the V. Sattui Deli… AND chocolatier extraordinaire! Hired in July of 2020, Kat has been bringing her special touch of brilliance to the deli and kitchen offerings. More recently, she has started showing off some of her other skills to the benefit of every sweet tooth that walks through our door. We took some time to get to know this “hidden gem” a bit more personally.

Where are you from originally?

I’m from Palmdale; the high desert area just northeast of Los Angeles. My parents started in Van Nuys, then moved us up to Palmdale. I was fortunate enough to move up here to attend the Culinary Institute of American (CIA). I really didn’t want to go back down to southern California and stayed up here.  Now everyone comes to visit me! It’s nice because it’s far enough, but not too far.

When you went to the CIA, did you already know you wanted to work with pastries, baking, and chocolates?

I knew I wanted to do pastries just because I had helped my cousin, who’s a chef, with savory food and I was like, “Not my thing.” But I didn’t really know I wanted to do chocolate until the second year of my schooling.  At first, you’re doing a little bit of everything. But then I had an externship – where you work somewhere and then come back to the school to finish your program – and they started having me do chocolate stuff, and I was really inspired. After that, I was like “Hey, I wanna do more chocolate!” I came back to school and started working with the chocolatier at the CIA as a student worker. It [chocolate] kind of just wiggled its way into my life and I had a knack for it, so it worked.

That’s fantastic! Seriously, how much more fun can you have than working with chocolate?

You can’t! You get paid to finger paint with the chocolate, you smell like chocolate.  There’s always something to do in chocolate – not just chocolate truffles. There’s bark, there’s fudge, there’s caramel… there are so many more avenues with just steps and steps of improvement that I see for myself.

I heard you were at Kollar Chocolates [in Yountville] before coming to V. Sattui. Did you go to Kollar right after graduating from the CIA?

No, I ended up first working at the school. The chocolatier at the time had left before I graduated, so as a student I had taken over the chocolate program. Then after I graduated, I stayed for about a year and a half longer. When I found I had learned as much as I could from myself, I went to Kollar. I had a friend who worked there at the time and asked them if they needed any help.

I was at Kollar for about six years; I was a sous chef and helping with everything; not just sous cheffing but with the front of house as well – you know how it goes.

Indeed.  Especially in a small business. I’ve been to Kollar… and it’s small!

It’s so tiny, and there is SO MUCH production that happens in that kitchen! I am very grateful for everything I learned there. The great thing about working there, and it being a small business, was you didn’t just learn about the kitchen, you learned business. It truly was like a class in business AND chocolate production.

How did you end up coming to V. Sattui Winery?

Well, the pandemic happened. I was talking with [Event Operations Manager] Virginia, and she had mentioned three or four months previously that V. Sattui was looking for a cheesemonger. Back then, I was like, “Oh, that’s cool.” But after the pandemic happened, she said “Oh yea, we’re still looking for an assistant cheesemonger!” I was like, “OK!”

If I hear something twice, then I’m going to explore that avenue. I can’t ignore an opportunity thrown at me more than once. So now I’m here, and I’m super happy about it!

Tell me more about your cheesemongering. I understand it’s not quite what you had been doing before – so how’s it going?

It’s really good! Like you said, it’s nothing like what I’ve done before, but in a way, cheese is so affiliated with desserts. There are always dessert courses of cheese and something sweet to go with it. I love cheese.  I recognized that I absolutely loved it but that I knew very little about it. So, I’ve been super excited to work with [Head Cheesemonger] Keith; not just to learn what cheeses there are and where they come from, but also because of those moments where I think, “Oh my god, I thought I was going to hate this cheese – and I don’t!” Then you learn about the details; little niche categories of cheese, seemingly identical, with subtle differences in this. It’s really fun to discover its similarities to chocolate.  It’s very scientific and they’re both quite similar in that way. I appreciate that a lot.

We’re getting to see some of your chocolatier work in the Marketplace. How did that come about?

I’m really happy to getback into chocolate again.  It’s such a big passion of mine… and I have an awful habit of buying chocolate equipment. Half the stuff I needed I already had just sitting at home, so I’m grateful that Will was able to bring it up and I am able to start creating again.

Now that your chocolate is for sale and on display, tell me a little bit more about it. What inspired the patterns, the designs, the flavors. What makes it special?

The flavors for the wine pairing chocolates were originally a raspberry truffle and a dark chocolate truffle. I love raspberry; that is like my home. I think dark chocolate is a little too intense for raspberry if it’s not controlled appropriately.  Chocolate can be really bitter and it has a way of overpowering flavors that are more subtle and beautiful.  I went with the milk chocolate filling and a little bit of butter just to help with the creaminess. There’s still a little bit of dark chocolate on the outside, but it’s just enough that it doesn’t deter from the milk chocolate. For the design on the raspberry truffle, I like things that reflect what the flavor is inside. It wouldn’t make sense to have blue on there, or orange, or anything like that unless it was for a baby shower or something super custom. So I said, “OK, it says raspberry, this is red.” That way it’s easily identifiable to the customer.

For the dark chocolate truffle, I saw we were offering jarred V. Sattui honey in the marketplace, and there’s an ingredient we use in the chocolate ganache that can be switched out with honey with no problem. You know, like how you can switch brown butter with regular butter just to add a little extra something special. So I did that, and I thought, “That’s a great way to promote TWO products at once!” For the design on that truffle: You know, honey can be so many different shades of amber and gold; so I added gold and amber splatters to reflect the different variances of the honey.

What about the bars of chocolate… the ones with the triangle patterns on them? I love that mold, by the way.

YEA! Chocolate molds are so much fun. I noticed there wasn’t just a straight-up dark chocolate bar being offered, and you know, I’m already working with the chocolate and I already have a bar mold, so why not produce it anyway? Then, you can’t forget the salt!  Everything has to be seasoned. So dark chocolate and salt – we tried it out.  They ended up selling really well, so we’ve been producing more and more.

Are there any other chocolate and/or cheese items you would like to see in the marketplace?

I think it would be fun to expand on the idea of chocolate bars. People have asked about milk chocolate, which we can do easily – like a milk chocolate almond bar.  I’d also like to have chocolate bars that are filled – like a Madeira bar, where you can have Madeira caramel with a Madeira dark chocolate ganache, showing off the different versions of Madeira in a chocolate bar. I think that would be super fun!

Also, not every chocolate is designed to be put on a shelf; it has a shorter lifespan. With Events starting up soon, I think an “a la minute” truffle would be super fun. It’s a really thin chocolate shell that gets filled with fruits or mousse, and a ganache. I think that would be really neat to have; to make a special occasion feel even more special.

And then as far as cheeses go, honestly, Keith is doing an amazing job. He’s always changing things out. I love that we’re bringing in risers, to physically elevate certain cheeses.  It helps the displays pop a lot more. I wouldn’t adjust anything Keith has been doing; he’s doing great.

Is there anything else you want to say about your experience coming to V. Sattui?

I love the community at V. Sattui. Everyone is here to help out.  No one is like, “Oh, that’s not my job.” It’s always, “OK, what can I do to help you out?” That’s so great, and you don’t see that in every place you go. And then it’s fun having all these different groups of guests coming in here. They’re not here just for the wine – while that might be the initial allure – they discover there is a food program here as well that elevates the experience and helps sustain the community, as far as chefs go.  I also think it’s really awesome to have so many house-made items in the Deli as well. I appreciate it all.

 

 

Taste them for yourself!  Guests visiting V. Sattui Winery for a wine tasting are encouraged to upgrade to include Kat’s delicious 2-piece chocolate pairing.  Five-piece chocolate sets and chocolate bars also available for sale in the Marketplace and included in most of our wine & gift basket sets.

Top 5 Wine-of-the-Month Membership Benefits

As one of the longest-running wine clubs in the Napa Valley, V. Sattui’s Wine-of-the-Month Club offers benefits other wineries just can’t match! Our history of providing excellent wines, experiences, and service means our membership speaks for itself.

Here are the Top 5 reasons to become a V. Sattui Wine-of-the-Month member:

1. Flexibility and Variety

Are you a red wine aficionado? Do you prefer sweet wines? Do you age your wine in your cellar, or drink it right away? With over 60 different wines in our robust portfolio, the Wine-of-the-Month Club has something for everyone! Choose from eight different club themes with flexible shipping schedules and quantities to suit your needs and preferences, and additional savings when you add wines to your regular shipments.

2. Discounts and Member-Exclusive Offers

 

Our Wine-of-the-Month members get discounts and offers that no one else can access! Enjoy 20% off case purchases when you re-order any of the wines from the previous two months’ shipments, or 15% 6-bottle purchases of those wines. And you always have access to 15% off case purchases storewide, year-round! Additionally, our dedicated Wine Consultants are available to provide personal assistance with any current offers outside of your regular club shipments, or you can place your orders on our website and automatically redeem your member savings at checkout.

3. Complimentary Tastings at the Winery

You and up to three guests can enjoy complimentary tastings in our member-exclusive Cellar Club, located on the ground floor of our Tuscan-inspired stone winery. Sip through five wines of your choice and taste future vintages of our top-tier wines straight from the barrel! Book your tasting reservation online or call (707) 963-7774 for personal assistance. 

4. Local Partner Discounts

Planning a trip to Napa? Go to our Plan Your Stay page on our website to see all the hotels, transportation companies, restaurants, and activity and adventure companies that partner with us to provide our members with exclusive savings and opportunities! Take advantage of our monthly Featured Partner benefits to get the most out of your membership, or enjoy a night or two in Dario Sattui’s own vacation rental, the Castello Victorian Inn.

5. Connect with Other Members at Events and Online

V. Sattui Winery is famous for its epic parties, but the best – like Lobster Fest – are reserved exclusively for our members. Plus, our monthly “Happy Hours” on Facebook Live give our members a chance to taste through and learn about the wines from their shipment, get updates on the winery, meet other Wine-of-the-Month members, and watch a cooking demonstration of that month’s featured recipe by our Wine & Food Pairing Expert, Marc Golick!

Believe it or not, the V. Sattui Wine-of-the-Month Club offers even more benefits than the five listed above! To enroll yourself or to give a gift membership, please visit our website or call (707) 963-7774 and ask to speak to our Wine Club team. We look forward to making you our newest member!

Top Three Reasons to Visit V. Sattui Winery

If you’re planning on spending a weekend, or even a full week in Napa Valley’s world-renowned wine country, a stop you simply can not leave off your list is V. Sattui Winery. As one of the first original 46 wineries in The Valley, V. Sattui is the perfect place to get a classic Napa Valley wine experience with a modern flair. We like to think of ourselves as the quintessential wine country experience. Not only will you taste award-winning, highly-acclaimed wines, but you’ll also be able to grab lunch or dinner, and enjoy glorious picnic grounds with beautiful vineyard views. Although there are endless reasons, we’ll leave you with the top three reasons to visit V. Sattui Winery, we’ll leave you with the top three. 

Introducing the V. Sattui Food Truck

The newest addition to the V. Sattui family comes on four wheels! From 11:30 am to 4:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, you can find the V. Sattui food truck parked near our picnic grounds and serving up delicious dishes. Grab a bottle after your tour and tasting and mosey up to the food truck window to satisfy your lunch cravings. This summer we’re serving up Italian-style thin-crust pizzas made to order, along with BBQ ribs, tri-tip sandwiches, grilled salmon salads, and special Italian treats created by Michelin star Chef, Stefano Masanti including his famous porchetta sandwich. Grab a quick bite or stay awhile–either way, our new food truck is worth a visit!

Wine and Food Pairings

Staying in the realm of food, our second favorite reason to visit V. Sattui Winery is for our wine and food pairings! Experience artfully crafted, flavorful bites specifically designed to elevate the tastes and aromas of amazing V. Sattui wines. When you arrive you’ll be greeted with Prestige Cuvée and guided on a brief tour of our Estate Vineyard and production areas. You’ll then be seated in our exclusive barrel room to begin your wine and food pairing journey! One of our expert staff members will then present six wines and six sumptuous culinary creations and lead you on an educational food and wine adventure. Wine and food pairings change seasonally so you’ll always get the freshest and most appropriate options. The final summer wine and food pairing is Saturday, August 10, 2019. Reserve your spot today before it’s too late! Learn, love, drink, and eat! What more could you want from visiting a Napa Valley winery?

Upgraded Tours and Tastings

The third top reason to visit V. Sattui Winery is weekly upgraded tours and tastings! We provide an array of high-quality tastings and tours daily to fit every wine aficionado and group. Taste in our marketplace, the reserve tower, on our terrace, and if you’re a member, in the Cellar Club and Gold Room. 

Visit us during the week and enjoy room to roam and even more attention from our expert staff. If you’re looking for the classic Napa Valley experience, may we suggest the Reserve Tower Tasting and add the Sweet & Savory Sable Cookie Trio. Here you’ll bask in luxury and history in our iconic Tower Tasting Room while tasting our award-winning Single-Vineyard wines and older-vintage Cabernets. You can’t get any more Napa Valley than that! If you’re looking to spend some time outside, our Tour and Terrace Tasting is for you. During this experience, you’ll be guided on a 45-minute immersion into V. Sattui’s history and will learn about the Napa Valley Agricultural Preserve and what it means to be a responsible steward to the land. You’ll explore the Winery Estate and then take a seat on our private terrace overlooking Vittorio’s Vineyard. Enjoy five top-tier wines with the option to upgrade your experience with a cheese and charcuterie platter.

There you have it – the top three reasons to visit V. Sattui Winery! If you’re planning a trip to the Napa Valley, or are local to the area, see for yourself first-hand what we’re talking about. Hope to see you at the winery real soon!