The Sbragia family’s history in Sonoma County dates back to 1904 when the grandfather of Ed Sbragia first came to the area from Tuscany. He worked in many wineries in the area and grew prunes on his own farm in Dry Creek Valley. In the 1950s, Ed’s father, Gino Sbragia, replanted the fields on their property to wine grapes which Ed grew up tending. Most of the grapes were sold to other wineries, with a small amount left over to make wine for their own personal use. It was Gino’s dream to one day start a family winery, producing wine from their own grapes under their own family label. Ed became winemaster at Beringer Vineyard in Napa Valley for 32 years but made a promise to his father that he would fulfill his dream. In 2006, a little over a century after his grandfather first came to Sonoma County, Ed opened the doors to Sbragia Family Vineyards.
Gino’s philosophy to winemaking was that it was a natural process—all you needed for good wine was good land, good grapes and good techniques. Ed continues to use that guiding principle today, and has worked hard to produce wines that reflect their winemaking heritage in Dry Creek Valley. Keeping it family focused, Ed’s son, Adam, now makes their wines. In Ed’s opinion, he has found the perfect balance of honoring how Gino and himself made wine, putting his own stylistic stamp on the bottle.
While the winery primarily produces Zinfandels, Cabernets, and Chardonnays, it’s their 2016 Home Ranch Sauvignon Blanc that has captured the category for Best Sauvignon Blanc. The winery started producing Sauvignon Blanc in its very first year, 2006.
“Right now our Sauvignon Blanc is a winery exclusive, as we only make about 300 cases each year,” says Ed Sbragia, founder of Sbragia Family Vineyards. “Our Home Ranch Vineyard produces a distinct Dry Creek style of Sauvignon Blanc, crisp with lots of citrus notes and lemongrass. The climate in this vineyard gets slightly colder than the rest of Dry Creek, allowing a balance of acidity and beautiful flavor profile.”
The grapes for this wine come from the winery’s Home Ranch Vineyard close to where the Dry Creek and Russian River AVAs meet.
“This wine, just like all of our others are a labor of love and a dream come true,” says Sbragia. “We first planted and started making Sauvignon Blanc, so my wife had a refreshing wine to drink in the summer. It turns out the location was perfect for Sauvignon Blanc and has been consistently producing a great bottle of wine for more than a decade.”
Today, the winery has an impressive list of 13 wines in their current releases, including an upcoming new sparkling wine.
“We will be disgorging and finishing our brand new sparkling wine this summer, a Brut Blanc de Blancs made from Chardonnay on our Home Ranch Vineyard,” says Sbragia. “We are calling the wine Saluti, which means ‘cheers’ in Italian.”
The winery and tasting room in Dry Creek Valley is open daily and they recently hired an estate chef to create an impressive food program. This has allowed them to offer lunch options by reservation, catering for private events at the winery, and lots of opportunities to pair their wine with food.
“The quality of the winemaking is as stellar as ever,” says Sbragia. “The experiences at the winery are constantly evolving to make anyone who walks through our doors feel like family and experience the best of what we have to offer.”
Cows grazing along hillsides and in seaside meadows are a picturesque and familiar sight in Marin and Sonoma counties. Dairy farms have been a local presence for more than 100 years, but thes...