Wineries that Keep It All in the Family
What other time of year is as family-filled as the holiday season? These four wineries keep winemaking all in the family, all year-round, and the products of their family businesses are perfect for your holiday table.
As the daughter and grandchildren of fourth-generation winemaker Marco Felluga, Patrizia Felluga and her children Antonio and Caterina Zanon have winemaking in their blood. Patrizia started her career both in the vineyards and on the management team of her father’s winery, where she would bring Antonio and Caterina as children to help with each harvest. Together they founded Zuani in 2001, the family’s dream winery focusing on terroir-based blends from their beloved Collio region. Warm and welcoming, this is a winemaking family that we all wish we were part of, and while that’s not quite possible, the recently opened Zuani Casa, a luxury country inn on the estate, makes guests feel like part of the family. Between picking vegetables from the family garden and bicycling through the vineyards, you may convince yourself that you’re the part of the next generation of family winemakers.
Try it: A blend of four white grape varieties, the Zuani Vigne 2013 ($24) is both fresh and lush, with tons of Pink Lady apple fruit and aromas of orange and peach blossoms. Lemony acidity keeps the palate lively — a delicious food pairing wine.
When a family has been making wine at one estate for nearly four centuries, one might guess that there could be a bit of pressure to enter the family business. Maison Trimbach has been producing top-quality Alsatian wine since 1628 and now operates in the hands of the 11th, 12th, and 13th generations of the Trimbach family. Winemaker Pierre crafts dry, well-balanced cuvées of classic Alsatian grape varieties, while brother Jean acts as ambassador for the house. Their uncle Hubert oversees the entire operation, and Pierre’s daughter Anne has even entered the business, also acting as a commercial face for Trimbach.
Try it: The Trimbach Riesling 2010 ($20) is outstanding, with a deep, ripe peach and Meyer lemon quality on the nose, plus a distinct stony minerality. Dry and fuller-bodied, it’s mouthwatering and just plain delicious.
When the Stinson family decided to purchase and renovate an historic house and its abandoned vineyards in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, they were facing an uphill battle. Yet, with just five vintages under their belts, father-daughter team Scott and Rachel are now making quality small-batch wines in a former three-car garage on the property, just 1.5 hours outside of Richmond, Va. Though both previously held careers outside of winemaking (Scott as an architect and Rachel as a photo editor), the team used their love of French wines as inspiration for the wines on the estate. And don’t forget about mom Martha — she uses her gardening skills to tend the vineyards. It’s clear that this is just the beginning for this family affair, and that’s something to be happy about.
Try it: It’s hard to believe that the fresh, juicy Stinson Vineyards Rosé 2013 ($17) is from Virginia, as it’s completely reminiscent of Southern France! Bright, candied strawberries and a hint of spice make this 100-percent mourvèdre rosé a huge crowd-pleaser.
Sbragia Family Vineyards
Former Beringer winemaker Ed Sbragia has strong roots in California’s Dry Creek Valley, making it a natural choice as the home of Sbragia Family Vineyards. Following in the steps of his father and grandfather, Ed began making robust, elegant wines under his family name in 2001, focusing on select blocks of vineyards for each cuvee. He and his son Adam now work as a pair on the winemaking (a “test run” as a duo, while Adam was assistant winemaker at Beringer, didn’t deter them!), and Adam’s wife Kathy runs the hospitality at the estate, with many other family members taking roles around the winery from time to time as well, making Sbragia Family Vineyards truly a family business.
Try it: Though the Monte Rosso Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 ($55) is great now, it will be even more fantastic in a few years. Rich, structured, and deeply fruited, it’s starting to show a complex meaty, smoky character that will just continue to develop. Pick up the Gino’s Zinfandel 2012 ($32) as well in honor of Sbragia’s 100-year zinfandel heritage — big and juicy, it’s a richer example of zinfandel in all the best ways.