IT’S TIME TO SUMMER
Ask our new Wine and Food Paring Host Virginia Mulrooney what she loves most about working at V. Sattui and she’ll tell you, bar none, it’s the atmosphere of family that makes this the best job she’s ever had. From co-workers to club members – the inclusive feeling of friendship and family is the first thing you feel when you step on property and this talented pastry chef turned wine maven was sold on her very first day.
Virginia has been with the company since 2016 – beginning as a concierge and dipping her toes into many facets of V.Sattui life before settling in as our Wine & Food Pairing host where she loves to enhance guest’s enjoyment of our wines by teaching them how different flavors and textures can elevate a vintage to the next level.
When she’s not at the winery, you’ll find Virginia and her new husband Ryan (who happens to be V. Sattui’s Corporate Culinary Manager and Sous Chef to Stefano Masanti!) spending the day hiking, enjoying wine tasting excursions on bikes or riding the roller coasters at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.
Originally from Cresskill, a small town in northern NJ, Rob earned a Law degree from NYU but after only a few years in practice, realized destiny was leading him down a different path. Vacations in Napa Valley over the years including visits to his favorite winery, V. Sattui, inspired a cross country move to pursue a career in the wine industry. Rob quickly rose in the ranks from Greeter to Tour Manager to Tasting Room Manager where his myriad of talents shine.
What makes Rob’s days in Napa Valley amazing? Leading a talented team of wine tenders while learning the inner-workings of the wine business – not to mention the tremendous variety of wines that allow him to taste something new and exciting almost every day. Another bonus? Working with his sister Virginia! Its true! She made the journey first, but both love V. Sattui equally and we’re lucky to have them on our team.
Rob’s top three V. Sattui picks: 2013 Morisoli Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014 Paradiso and 2012 Reserve Merlot. All are phenomenal reds he loves to sip solo or enjoy paired with a perfectly grilled dry-aged rib-eye.
When Rob is away from the winery, you’ll find him blowing bubbles and playing short stop for the V. Sattui softball team or singing a mean Karaoke rendition of “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” at Ana’s Cantina. We do too Rob. And we believe in you!
Lynn is our “host with the most” here at the winery ready to greet you and guide you to the perfect V. Sattui experience. As part of the V. Sattui Family since 1985 – she is a bona fide expert in all things Sattui and has done it all from weddings and events to hospitality in the Cellar Club to serving our members as a personal Wine Consultant on the phone! No matter where she is or what she’s doing, she always talking about our brand.
Lynn takes her love of V. Sattui even further by keeping our local visitor centers, hotels, B&B’s, restaurants and transportation partners up-to-date on all of the latest and greatest winery news and happenings. You’ll even find her pouring our award-winning wines at fantastic events throughout Napa Valley and in the bay area sharing our unique story and brand philosophy. She’s our ambassador-extraordinaire and the perfect Lead Concierge. Be sure to stop by the Concierge desk on your next visit to say hello!
Favorite V. Sattui wine: 2017 Rosato-di-Sangiovese. Why? It’s like summertime in a glass! Pair with soft-ripened brie, house cured bresaola and honey crisp apple slices.
When she’s not at the winery or talking about our wines, you’ll find this talented artist creating beautiful floral designs or belting out her favorite tune. This girl can rock a mic!
Joe joined the V. Sattui family in 2017 as Culinary Director bringing with him an incredible background in culinary arts, entrepreneurship and restaurant management. His creativity has elevated our culinary program and we are thrilled to announce his expanded position as our new Marketplace Manager.
From his first wine country experience cooking at Domaine Chandon in Yountville to opening and operating Rhumba in Boulder Colorado for ten years – his own successful Caribbean Restaurant and Rum Bar – to selling it all to travel the world, scuba dive and open his own yoga studio, Joe is no stranger to adventure and daring innovation. Joe brings this passion and energy to V. Sattui Winery where you’ll find him running the weekend BBQ, developing exciting new bites for our wine and food pairings and raising the bar daily in our Artisan Deli and Italian Marketplace.
Favorite V. Sattui Wine: Entanglement. Why? This juicy, balanced blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre is delicious on its own or served up with bacon wrapped, blue cheese and marcona almond stuffed dates.
When he’s not onsite, you’ll find Joe exploring the great outdoors camping, scuba diving or mountain biking.
Thanks to the success of our business over the years and to patrons like yourselves, V. Sattui has the opportunity to share the wealth and truly make a difference in the community. We believe leadership is a responsibility and this give us purpose. Our supporting efforts are relevant not only for Napa Valley residents, but also important and meaningful for our V. Sattui Winery family of employees. In this article, we’ll share with you a few ways we demonstrate our larger purpose as part of a living community.
Ag Preservation & Land Conservation
Over the last 20 years, V. Sattui has proudly protected nearly 600 acres through conservation easements ensuring these lands will in perpetuity be protected from commercial or residential development. The character of Napa County is, for the most part, rural and agricultural, unlike many of our neighboring counties that have allowed their farms, orchards, vineyards and woodlands to be developed into sprawling housing subdivisions and shopping centers. One of the only ways to prevent further encroachment of homes and storefronts in the Napa Valley (along with supporting the Napa County Agricultural Preserve–celebrating its 50 anniversary this year) is to grant conservation easements so our lands will be preserved for the enjoyment of current residents along with future generations to come. The Napa Valley is a very special place, with the ideal climate and soils to produce world-class grapes, used to produce world-class wines. Eventually, all of the land owned by V. Sattui, totaling some 1,000 acres will be protected through contract easements and the Napa Land Trust.
Lesser known by most, outside the City of St. Helena, is our commitment to education. V. Sattui Winery, since 2007, has teamed with the Napa Valley Vintner’s Adopt-A-School program as the sponsor for the Robert Louis Stevenson (RLS) Middle School. Winery President Tom Davies commented, “So much of today’s education is teaching so students can perform well on tests. In real life, there are no tests, but real life situations and decision making. Hopefully the annual field trips give our students a glimpse of how businesses are started and grown, and if we can inspire a few of the students to start their own business in the future that’s icing on the cake.”
The field trip is a joint effort created by the V. Sattui staff and by the RLS 8th grade teachers as a tool for unifying core subjects of history, social sciences, language arts, mathematics, and science into the real-world workplace. The students arrive at 9 am and are greeted by Tom who speaks to them on the Sattui family’s immigration and the history of the winery, including Prohibition. They then break into small groups where they sequentially attend 5 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 treated to a picnic lunch. After returning to school, the students are required to write a detailed, multi-paragraph expository essay that recounts their experience and what they learned at the winery.
V. Sattui is extremely proud to employ a great many graduates of the St. Helena Unified School System in full-time positions, as department managers or assistant managers, as well as providing summer employment to high schoolers or college students returning for the summer. Additionally, the winery hosts an end-of-year gathering for RLS teachers, staff and administrators on the last day of the school year, as a way of saying thank you for caring for and cultivating our future employees and leaders.
Picnic Packs – A Helping Hand to Independence
If you have visited us we trust you enjoyed an al fresco lunch from our artisan deli on our idyllic picnic grounds. You likely purchased one of our picnic packs: containing planet-conscious utensils, plates, napkins, and cups for two, with a brief note: “A special thank you to the dedicated developmentally-challenged students at the Napa Valley Unified School District (NVUSD) Post-Secondary Project for packing this planet-conscious “Green Picnic Pack.” What you may not know is, for over 30 years now, the sales of our picnic packs have supported the pre-employment skills for these Special Education students as they transition from high school to work. The students work for 2 hours a day, four days a week assembling our picnic packs; they work offsite, away from the school, at two different locations: the senior center and the Boys and Girls Club. Cory Roche, a teacher for the post-secondary program states, “They appreciate the opportunity to be treated like everyone else.” As employees of V. Sattui Winery (Yes, they are our employees), each student earns a wage and receives a paycheck from the Winery. Stephanie Solberg, a vocational specialist with NVUSD noted, “It’s purposeful work, which encompasses a lot of different life skills, including math, social skills and independence, and with their paychecks from V. Sattui, the students can save money for something they need or want.”
Recently, we hosted our student-employees, which included a full tour of the winery, the vineyards and a luncheon. Tom Davies recalled the partnership formed thanks to a V. Sattui employee’s mother, who worked in special education. “I look at it as a great, long-term partnership.” As part of the job experience, the students learn to get to the work location on time, fill out time sheets and sign for their paychecks, after which they learn how to access the bank. Last year, we sold 30,000 picnic packs—and we thank all of our patrons for helping us help others in our community. We can state with certainty that our staff takes a warm pride in knowing that we are helping to make a difference in the lives of young adults in our county every time they explain to our guests the underlying reason our picnic packs are for sale.
Meals on Wheels
A recent and notable project is our purchase of a new food delivery truck (in collaboration with our sister winery Castello di Amorosa) that will transport daily meals to our senior citizens who can’t drive but still wish to live independently. The volunteers of the Napa Valley Meals on Wheels program will deliver over 400 meals daily from American Canyon in the south to Calistoga in the north of Napa County. This new delivery van is a welcome upgrade, as it will be outfitted for the purpose at-hand, and will replace a couple older vehicles which were no longer suitable for the mission or for the distances to be traveled 7 days a week. In a subtle way, we believe that we are giving back to the many people in the Napa Valley who have supported us over the years by bringing their family and friends to enjoy the wine country and the experience at V. Sattui.
As Dario Sattui said in his 2017 holiday message: “Giving, with no expectation of anything in return other than the pure enjoyment and satisfaction of helping someone or a cause, is a great feeling. Together, we can make a difference.”
Pheromone Trials on a Vineyard Nemesis
Even the most casual visitor to the Napa Valley has recently observed vineyards being torn out at an alarming rate and replanted. This activity tends to come in cycles as growers replant vineyards established 25 to 30 years ago. The long-term productivity of vines can be compromised not only by age, but also by pests and disease.
The cost to replant a vineyard is staggering. A typical cost to replant an acre of vines is between $30,000 to $35,000, depending on site specifics, such as slope, soil preparation, drainage and spacing. This figure does not include the economic loss of three years of production, as it takes up to four years until the vines are fully producing. So it comes as no surprise, V.Sattui Winery is committed to taking preventative action to improve the long-term economic viability of our vineyards.
The vine mealybug. Pests come in a variety of forms. They can be soil-born (nematodes), viruses, as well as insect and fungal pests. One pest, the invasive, non-native vine mealybug arrived in the U. S. in the early 1990’s and has been expanding ever since. The vine mealybug has a very high reproductive rate (4-7 generations per year) and within 15 years it had been found in 17 California counties. It has the potential of severely damaging the quality and yield of our wine grapes if left unchecked. Growers are quick to respond when the mealybug is found as infestations can cause a devastating and total loss of crop in severe cases. Mealybugs have recently been proven to be a disease vector and can transmit harmful grapevine viruses.
While we’ve been fortunate to avoid any significant losses in our own vineyards, we realize the importance of being vigilant. Therefore, V. Sattui has been conducting trials on various options to protect our healthy vineyards. Research into alternative treatments to control the mealybug, including pheromone disruption and parasitic wasp releases, have been ongoing for some years with their results reported in scientific journals. The staff at the University of California Cooperative Education, in conjunction with the Napa Valley Agricultural Commissioner, conducted a study in Napa Valley and shared their initial results with the local farmers.
What did we learn? For many years we have relied on standard insecticide treatments with inconsistent results and without eradicating the pest. Because the adult insects hide under the bark of the vine’s trunk they are often protected from traditional contact sprays. This behavior was also a limiting factor in parasitic wasp effectiveness in other trials. After seeing that pesticides alone were not working effectively in our vineyards we wanted to consider alternative treatments such as pheromone applications.
The use of pheromones is intended to disrupt the mating behavior of the insects, primarily by confusing the male’s ability to find the females (the males have wings and can fly while the females are wingless) during the mating season and thereby preventing a new generation of mealybugs. The flight of male mealybugs can be monitored using traps to determine the most effective timing of the pheromone applications. During trials it was found that the pheromone treatment also enhanced the effectiveness of parasitic predators, and control by natural-occurring, beneficial insects.
In 2016 we decided to try this practice in our own vineyards, and shared our results with other neighboring vineyards, some of whom did not use the pheromone. This gave us the opportunity to compare the results of pheromone use in our trial to insecticide sprays used by others (the “control” in our trials).
What did we prove? As an alternative to relying solely on insecticide sprays, we found the addition of the mating-disruptive pheromone spray to be a very effective. The results of our trials during the summer months of 2016 show positive results. The vine mealybug population showed a massive decrease due to the use of the pheromone spray and effectively prevented new generations of the pest. We continued the application the following year (2017) and the results were exceptional. Our vineyards showed no signs of infection and we could not find any presence of the mealybug in our vineyards. Additionally, the pheromone sprays are economically effective. They are far less expensive than most traditional insecticide products. Reducing the use of traditional insecticides supports one of our primary goals – farming “sustainably.”
The sun is shining … and the wine is fine! We have selected five refreshing, food-friendly wines ready for pool parties, beach bonfires, and just about anything fresh off the grill. What else is shining and bright?
25% OFF these wines
when ordered by the case (mix-or-match):
2017 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc
2016 Dry Riesling
2015 Dry Muscat
2016 Gamay Rouge
2015 Ramazzotti Vineyard Zinfandel