Lynn Catania is sunshine personified. Her sunny personality lights up our Cellar Club when she’s pouring wine for members, and it’s perfect for the outreach she does with our local hotels and B&B’s. Her smile is infectious, especially after she’s hit you with a quick witted a one-liner, or bursts into song with her beautiful voice.
Lynn is a Napa local and grew up working at her family’s restaurant, Catania’s Pizza, which was a favorite hangout for locals. This job fueled her passion for cooking, a hobby she still continues today. She’s also a great floral designer and even owned her own flower shop at one time.
Q: When did you first start at V. Sattui?
A: “The first time, I was 18 years old. A friend got me a job working in the deli. This was back in the day when we didn’t have an automatic vacuum sealer for the deli meats. It was all hand-done by wrapping the plastic really tight. My arms still ache when I think about it! I also worked in the cheese case and at the registers.
About 18 years later, I worked in our Events Department helping with weddings and parties. A few years ago I was working at Artesa Winery in the Tasting Room, and Tom (Davies, President of V. Sattui) called me one day and asked, ‘When do you want to come home?’ And that was it. Working here is like coming back to family. It’s my home base.”
Q: Now you work in our Cellar Club and get to see our best members daily. You also help out with our Wine of the Month Club?
A: “I love our members. I have so much fun down there! People come from all over the world to see us. They just love V. Sattui Winery. I have members that come in and want to have lunch with me, which I’m just too busy to do! They plan a day just to come here, and don’t want to visit anywhere else. I get invitations to visit their homes. They’ll say ‘If you’re ever in St Louis, or San Antonio, or Hawaii or wherever – you can stay with us.’ They bring me gifts too. I got a Lady Gaga toothbrush once! V. Sattui isn’t just a Winery, it is a wonderful, extended family.”
Q: Speaking of family, you recently got to visit family in Italy and learn to cook some of their dishes?
A: Yes, I visited my Aunt in Sicily. On the 4th day of the six that I stayed with her, she allowed me into the kitchen to help her cook. This was a major accomplishment!
Q: What is your favorite V. Sattui Wine?
A: I’m very seasonal with my drinking. I like the Anderson Riesling in the summer. It’s not overly dry, but has these nice crisp, apple flavors. In the fall, I just love the Entanglement. I always tell people this is the wine I reach for when I hit a wall with Pinot. It’s a chameleon wine – it can be heavy and seductive or bright and acidic. In the winter I really love our Morisoli or Mt Veeder Cabernets.
Let us take you on a short, virtual journey to one of our favorite places. V. Sattui’s Henry Ranch is located in the Los Carneros appellation at the southern end of Napa Valley. It is the one appellation that is shared by both Sonoma and Napa counties.
Henry Ranch is on the Napa side of the border and it is made up 528 acres that have seen their share of history, yet have remained relatively untouched by time. When you’re there, you can close your eyes and almost hear the sounds of antique farm equipment powered by horses and humans.
Once home to Wappo Indians and then Spanish and Mexican settlers living on one of General Vallejo’s grants, the land was acquired by the Henry Family in 1850. It operated as a dairy ranch with an ingenious tram system of moving hay into the barn and taking milk out when Carneros Creek made road passage impossible during the winter months.
Dario Sattui purchased this property in 1993 from Herb Henry, one of the last living Henry family members, now in his late 80’s. Dario remains friends with him today.
“He is eccentric, almost innocent and unspoiled and a throwback to a previous generation of people who worked the land. He lived without a phone, without a TV, in a trailer and eventually in a culvert under the ground. He never drove a car to my knowledge and did the farm work with primitive equipment. I don’t know if he and his brother Ralph ever had a tractor on the farm. He even spun thread from wool and tanned hides.”
A small portion of this land, 111 acres total, has been planted to grapes. Henry Ranch’s cooling breezes from the San Pablo Bay and daytime heat on the lowlands and the hills that are part of the Mt. Veeder appellation, are the perfect mix for growing acclaimed Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Muscat Canelli, Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah, Grenache, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Add in rolling grassy hills, old oak trees and slopes over 900 ft. with views of the Napa Valley to the north and San Francisco to the south—you see why Dario was attracted to this property. But of course, so were many developers who wanted to build homes. To keep this place intact, Dario had to buy out these developers’ options and place their escrows in his name. Since then, he’s placed 528 acres of the property including historic buildings, Carneros Creek and tributaries to the creek in the Land Trust of Napa County. Three quarters of this land will remain forever wild and undeveloped.
“It was and is such a beautiful valley I didn’t want to see it spoiled with homes. I wanted to preserve it, so it will never be built upon. We want to preserve the beauty for future generations. We have also fixed up the historic barns attempting to preserve what was. We are only custodians who must preserve the historic and wild nature of the property to pass it on as we found it for those who come later.”
We do our very best to take care of Henry Ranch with sustainable vineyard practices. We use cover-crops in the winter that attract beneficial insects that feed on harmful ones that can damage the vines. Cover-cropping also reduces soil erosion and, in the spring, we plow down the cover crop which acts as a natural fertilizer and returns valuable nitrogen to the soil. We compost our pomace (leftover skins and seeds after pressing) for a year, then use the composted material as nutrient-rich, organic fertilizer in the vineyard. To combat vertebrate pests such as birds and turkeys, we use an audio system in the vineyard with speakers that emit actual bird distress and predator calls which ward off pest birds. We’ve also continued our Fish Friendly Farming certification that protects harmful runoffs into creeks and streams and provides wildlife corridors between vineyard blocks.
At V. Sattui we believe the best grapes and the best wine comes from a land that is loved and cared for. Our Henry Ranch is a shining example of that.
We are very fortunate to often have fresh Dungeness crab, that delicate, sweet and tender crustacean found along California’s western shores. In our Deli, we offer a little mayo and some wedges of lemon to go alongside; but we also particularly like them, slightly warmed, atop a lightly dressed mound of baby greens. These are 4-ounce crab cakes. Serve one as a first course; two as a main course.
(Makes 8 four-ounce cakes)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup red bell pepper, small dice
½ cup yellow bell pepper, small dice
½ bunch scallions (green onions), green part only, cut ¼ inch
1 pound fresh Dungeness crabmeat
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cups fresh focaccia crumbs
2 quarts vegetable oil for deep fry
2 cups plain bread crumbs
In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter and cook peppers and scallions until tender. Set aside to cool.
Place crabmeat in a large bowl and check for bits of shell. Add the mayonnaise, mustard and focaccia bread crumbs and mix well. Stir in the peppers and scallions.
Heat the vegetable oil to 350 degrees F. If you do not have a fryer, use a heavy 6-quart saucepan.
Place the plain bread crumbs in a medium bowl or on a wide plate.
With a large spoon (and your hands), scoop a mound of the mixture (approximately 4 ounces) and shape a round patty.
Pass the crab patty in the bread crumbs two times, pressing the crumbs with your hands.
Fry or sauté the patties for about three minutes, until light brown.
Let rest on a plate with kitchen paper or paper towels at least 5 minutes before serving.
In the next day or two, grapes are going to start coming into the winery crush pad, and the 2015 harvest will be upon us! This year is even more special as we are honored to host a unique annual tradition that officially kicks off harvest in Napa Valley, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers’ Annual Harvest STOMP.
“There is simply no event like this one in the world of wine”, Steve Moulds of Moulds Family Vineyards and President of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG). “We take the best time of year in the Valley and throw every great thing about Napa Valley into it: the vineyard setting, the wines, the food, the people, and the camaraderie that exists is unparalleled.”
This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, August 22, and tickets have already sold out. There is a wait list if you’re interested in the possibility of attending, but this blog is about sharing information on two missions that we are happy to partner with NVG through this event: to preserve and promote Napa Valley’s world-class vineyards, and to support the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation.
We are hosting STOMP at our Henry Ranch in the Los Carneros appellation at the southern end of Napa County. This 525-acre property is a shining example of preserving Napa Valley’s agricultural heritage. It was once home to the Wappo Indians and part of an original Spanish land grant. Around 1850 the land was purchased by the Henry family, who farmed and raised livestock on the ranch until Dario Sattui bought the property from Herb Henry in 1993. To date, 120 acres of sustainably-farmed vineyards have been planted and virtually all of the 525 acres of land have been protected by any further development through conservation easements and the Land Trust of Napa County, ensuring the unspoiled beauty of this ranch for future generations.
STOMP also helps support the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation. The Napa Valley is known for its world-class vineyards that produce the world's highest quality wines, but what really makes this valley so special are the people. The Napa Valley farmworker community is the heart, soul and foundation of our industry. Founded by the NVG in 2011, the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation supports and promotes Napa Valley’s vineyard workers through education and professional development. This foundation is the only one of its kind in the United States and to date has helped more than 7,500 vineyard workers and their families. Not only are the lives of Napa Valley’s vineyard workers improved, but also their families, their children, and our community-at-large.
Cheers to the 2015 harvest! May it be bountiful not only in wine grapes, but also in keeping Napa Valley a beautiful destination, and one of the best places to live.
Winter rains promote the rapid growth of wild mustard in the Napa Valley. January visitors are treated to our Valley floor being blanketed in a vibrant carpet of bright yellow mustard flowers. So it’s no accident that mustard is a favorite ingredient of so many Napa chefs—our own included. We’ve found that prawns and mustard have a natural affinity for each other. Add shallots and champagne vinegar and this dish is transcendent. No dipping here...these prawns are already sauced!
½ cup plus 2 teaspoons sea salt
3 pounds prawns, heads removed, peeled & deveined
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground red chili flakes
½ cup champagne vinegar
1 cup canola oil
¼ cup finely chopped shallots
¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley
In a large pot bring 6 quarts of water to a boil, then add ½ cup of sea salt.
When water begins to boil again, add the prawns. Bring to a boil once more and cook for only a half minute (30 seconds). Drain and let the prawns cool.
While waiting for the prawns to cool, make the emulsion: In a mixer bowl, place the Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons salt, chili flakes and champagne vinegar.
Mix on medium-low for about 1-2 minutes, then add the oil very slowly (so the ingredients don’t separate) until the oil is done.
In a large bowl, place the prawns, then add the emulsion, the shallots and the parsley. Mix very well to coat the prawns. Serve chilled with a bottle of your favorite V. Sattui Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.
You've asked and we've heard you! We now offer two tours to satisfy all palates.
The casual encounter; for the lovers of spontaneity and the people who want to get to know us a little better but aren’t quite ready to commit (you know who you are).
Offered daily at 11am and Sunday-Friday at 2pm
45 minute tour
$30 per adult / $15 per child (6-20 years old)
Tasting voucher for our Main Tasting Room
Brief history of the winery
Organic practices in Vittorio's Vineyard
The growing seasons of grapevines
The intimate experience; for the lovers of planning and the people who just can’t resist our charm and want to know EVERYTHING there is to know about winemaking and V. Sattui. Ready to go all in?
Offered Sundays only at noon
1.5 hour tour including tasting
$65 per member / $75 per non-member (21 and older only)
Seated tasting paired with a selection of our own house-cured meats and artisanal cheeses
Everything above plus -
The importance barrel selection
In-depth look at the vineyards and winemaking practices
What it takes to make a great vintage
...and sample directly from the tanks!
Weddings - and how each couple interprets this auspicious day - are constantly evolving to fit this modern day world, and the diverse couples formed within it. One of our favorite interpretations is in the form of elopements. The special intimacy, the raw power of the couple's bond and their private, almost secretive, exchanged glances - it just makes our hearts a-flutter with the love of love!
Elopements allow the pair to appreciate the comforts of a smaller wedding, filled with only those closest to their hearts.
Nancy and Anthony’s simple, elegant elopement wedding was the epitome of the exuberance two people in love experience on their special day, when free to have their dream ceremony, their way.
Many thanks to the talented Ken Viale, who was on hand to capture those special moments!
Nancy and Anthony on Vittorio’s Tower balcony, just moments before the ceremony.
The couple took an impromptu mid-ceremony break to have a brief video chat with their son who couldn’t be there in person, but managed to make an appearance nonetheless!
Close family members watched in anticipation as bride and groom slid wedding rings onto each other’s intertwined hands.
Our courtyard lit up with vibrant smiles as they kissed for the first time as husband and wife!
What is more fitting than a unity wine pour at a winery wedding; the perfect blend of two lives, and families, becoming one.
Their young son, and ringbearer, was the first to make a toast to the newlyweds – with some delicious Gamay Rouge Grape Juice!
Congratulations, Nancy and Anthony!
Our two lovebirds, Alex and Justine, have been busy planning their wedding with our V. Sattui Wedding Team! Working with our wedding coordinator, Melissa Ferentheil, they came to the Winery for a site visit. The pair are here often to pick up their Wine Club shipments, but Melissa wanted to put them in the mind frame of their wedding guests - walking them past our fountain, through the lush grounds and under our towering ancient oaks. They chose locations for their cocktail hour and the wedding ceremony, then finished in the Barrel Room where the dinner and reception would be held.
Dinner and Reception in the Barrel Room
photo: Shannon Stellmacher
Alex and Justine chose to entertain their guests on Vittorio’s Terrace for their cocktail hour, among the beautiful gardens and stone fountains. The cocktail hour can also take place in the lower courtyard or in our Cellar Club. As for the ceremony, there are so many beautiful options – the romantic tower lawn, the intimate courtyard, or the spacious Barrel Room – and the pair chose a wedding favorite: the courtyard.
Alex and Justine's picks:
Cocktail Hour on Vittorio's Terrace Ceremony in the Courtyard
photo: Ken Viale
And don't worry - no matter what places they chose on property - they're all dog-friendly! You may remember that Alex and Justine had their dog, Trixie, in tow when they got engaged at our winery - and I have a feeling Trixie will be making an appearance at the wedding. I'm excited to see what special role she might play!
Justine, Alex and Trixie
To help the couple with the sometimes overwhelming amount of decisions, we have put together an extensive list of experienced vendors that we have worked with time and again. Every little thing is covered on that list: talented photographers, videographers, hair and makeup artists, entertainment, florists, and even suggestions for accommodations and transportation.
Plus something that no other winery can offer - Stefano Masanti, our resident Michelin-starred chef from Lombardia, Italy. Stefano has a passion for fresh, local and seasonal cuisine and his wife, Raffa, is a Sommelier who can offer insight into pairing Stefano’s food with V. Sattui’s award-winning wines. He is the exclusive chef for weddings at the winery from April through October.
On a sunny day in early May, Alex and Justine brought their parents in for a special tasting at V. Sattui to choose their wines and their menu.
Alex and Justine with their parents
With Melissa’s guidance, Alex and Justine tasted through several of our award-winning wines to decide which ones would be the perfect fit for their wedding. For cocktail hour – they decided on our refreshing 2014 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, the light and fruity 2012 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, and the cult-favorite 2012 Crow Ridge Ancient Vine Zinfandel to wet their guest’s whistles and get the party started. To pair with dinner – the rich and buttery 2012 Reserve Chardonnay and our intense, mountain-bred 2010 Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon. And a special indulgence for the head table only – our plush and earthy 2008 Vittorio’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Let me just say, they have GREAT taste.
Their wedding wine line-up
And no, they didn’t forget the sparkling – apparently Justine is a bit of a “bubbly-head,” so instead having it just served for the toast, she wants the sparkling flowing “all night long!” Prestige Cuvee for everyone! Alex laughed that we probably won’t see her without a champagne flute in her hand.
Alex and Justine brought their wine list with them to the V. Sattui kitchen for their menu tasting with Stefano and Raffa.
Raffa, Alex, Justine, and Stefano
Choosing from Stefano's generous menu offerings (he has pages and pages of enticing hors d’oeuvres, first, second and even third courses, desserts and cakes, like carmelized red beet, almond cheese and crispy almond tuile or rabbit galantine, red onion Italian compote and crispy parmesan), the couple had previously narrowed down the options for dinner service to several possible appetizers, salads and main courses. They were ready to see the chef perform his culinary magic as he prepared each one for them to taste and to make a final decision on the menu.
Bite after succulent bite, Stefano went back and forth between their table and the kitchen, showing them what an addition of this or that to a certain dish would do to the flavors, aware that every part of their special day should be just so. This intimate, chef’s table experience gives the wedding couple a chance to get to know Chef Stefano and his team. Raffa helped them to understand what dishes would go best with their newly-chosen wines. So check chicken, beef or fish – and be prepared to have your tastebuds amazed!
Now it’s time for Alex & Justine to relax and enjoy the days leading up to the big day. And when they say "I do," There are sure to be fireworks - because they will be saying their vows on July 4! I cannot wait to see the photos. Be sure to check back for the final installment on Alex and Justine’s road to wedded bliss!
Fine wine, romantic vineyard views, and lush grounds entice countless visitors to V. Sattui Winery each year. It’s easy to see why so many couples fall in love, get engaged, and get married here. Couples who marry at the winery become part of V. Sattui’s rich history, with their milestone moments and fond memories deeply rooted in our soils.
We recognize each couple has a unique flair, and on their wedding day, it’s important to showcase their unique taste. We are experienced in masterfully customizing our lush landscapes and picturesque spaces into idyllic wedding scenes. The result is a spectacular occasion to cherish for a lifetime.
We congratulate Jennie & Jed who chose V. Sattui Winery to host their beautiful May 2015 wedding – it was truly a perfect pairing! Chantel Giongco took these gorgeous images.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at their grand affair:
The bridal party dazzled with excitement on our Vittorio’s Terrace as they prepared for the big moment.
Meanwhile, our subterranean barrel room was transformed into Jennie & Jed’s vision of elegance.
As Jennie’s brother walked her down the aisle, her smile at her future husband, Jed, was shining bright in the Napa Valley sunlight!
As Jennie & Jed performed the cake cutting ceremony as husband and wife, it marked a new beginning in their relationship – and the start to our thriving summer wedding season!
Cheers to Jennie & Jed! May your glasses always be full –perhaps with some award-winning V. Sattui wine?
Mark Roomian and his loud shirts (I like to call him Marky Mark and the Funky Shirts) have been a fixture here at the winery for many years - since May of 1997. If you’ve ever visited the property, you’ve probably heard him. His booming voice and roaring laughter can be heard all throughout the tasting room. Working up front, I remember no matter where you were working, you could always pick Mark’s voice out of the din, ringing clearly through the tasting room.
What you might not know about Mark is that he is an avid Zin lover, master BBQer, and father to two beautiful girls, Tori and Bianca. I talked with him about the secret to great BBQ and his proudest moments as a father.
Oriana LaForte: What do you think is the most important thing people should know about V. Sattui?
Mark Roomian: That this is a privately-owned business. Still small-family owned and based on old traditions. I still remember when Dario would be here on a Saturday, and he would do the job of the stockers – taking the dirty glasses from behind the bar and washing them in the back and bringing them back out on the floor. He is like that, you know. When you see the guy you work for mopping the floor next to you at the end of the day, that's the place I want to work.
OL: What is your favorite wine?
MR: Zinfandel. I just love the variety you can have. Look you can line up 7 different Pinots and know it’s a Pinot Noir. Same thing with Cab - and dont get me wrong, I love Cab. But Zin – some Zins can be light, some heavy, you can have jammy, or earthy or fruit-forward or peppery – it is just so unique!
OL: And your favorite V. Sattui wine?
MR: Black Sears Zinfandel – that pepper aroma just reminds me of a juicy pepper-crusted ribeye coming right off the grill.
OL: And it goes great with BBQ. You do some BBQ work on the side, right?
MR: I love cooking BBQ. David [of Double D's BBQ] and I go to the Rib Cook-off [in Reno] almost every year. We should be there this year, too. Labor Day weekend.
OL: What is your favorite BBQ?
MR: Whole hog, or brisket. They take longer, but it’s worth it! I helped David do the hog for the employee picnic last year. We watched it for three or four days and man was it good.
OL: Oh yea, I remember that. That was beautiful - juicy and tender and fatty and flavorful – and you know I’m from the South! Any tips or tricks about BBQing?
MR: The rub is more important than the sauce.
OL: Tell me about your girls.
MR: Tori just graduated from Syracuse with a Bachelor’s degree - she double majored in Political Science and Anthropolgy. Bianca finished up her freshman year at Alabama and is back for the summer. Tori is actually driving back with a friend; since she graduated, she has to bring everything back home.
Bianca (right) at her high school graduation with Tori (left) and their cousin, Audrey
OL: So they’ll be able to spend Father’s Day with you! Do you guys have any special plans?
MR: I think we’ll go to my dad’s, and have a nice family dinner.
OL: A multi-generational Father’s Day celebration, I love it! So what is the best thing about fatherhood?
MR: Seeing how they have the best traits of Suzanne [their mother] and I. They love sports and they are outgoing. That’s definitely from me.
OL: They worked here at one time, right?
MR: Yeah. Tori worked in the gift department and Bianca worked the salad case [deli and marketplace].
OL: What would you say is your proudest moment as a father?
MR: I’ve had a lot – and you know how people always tell you how you’re going to be proud when your daughter is born, when she rides a bike for the first time, when she graduates – and you know you will – but when those moments actually happen – man, it’s better. It’s just better than anyone ever said. I think one of the proudest moments was when Tori got her acceptance letter from Syracuse. Because we didn’t really expect it to happen, but when it did – I mean, wow. That was big.