What is it about Seghesio’s Zinfandel that has landed them a winning spot seven times in the NorthBay biz Best Of? “Our Sonoma Zinfandel is made from fruit that is either estate grown or sourced from distinguished growers throughout Sonoma County, considered to be the premier region for Zinfandel production,” says Ted Seghesio, general manager and winemaker at Seghesio Family Vineyards in Healdsburg. Low-impact grape growing and wine practices combined with a marine influence, yet warm growing region to help maintain a fine line between acidity and ripeness resulting in a balanced and delicious Zinfandel.
Seghesio Family Vineyards was founded in 1895 and, eventually becoming one of 100 wineries that survived Prohibition. In 1979, fourth generation Ted Seghesio entered the winery as winemaker and general manager. In 1983, Seghesio introduced their first commercially produced wines. Previously, they sold all of their wine in bulk. Today, the winery is owned by Crimson Wine Group, whose passion for sustainability efforts and quality wine is at the top of the list.
Seghesio offers five Zinfandels distributed worldwide, and four Zinfandel’s that are part of their heritage series (available to wine club members only). They also recently released their newest: the 2015 Montafi Zinfandel, produced from 100-year-old vines grown in the Russian River Valley. Seghesio explains that complex interactions between sea-floor marine sediments and iron-rich volcanic rocks due to faulting over time formed our soils. This phenomenon also explains the diversity of Sonoma’s soils and enables production of unique expressions of the grape, like the savory qualities exhibited by the Montafi Zin. “We control all facets of grape-growing, and have to know how to guide the vines into producing desirable qualities—yet, Mother Nature always has the final say.” The winery also keeps a close eye on sustainability practices. “We’re in the process of getting our vineyards and winery SIP (Sustainability in Practice) third party certified. Sustainability at every level is our commitment to protecting the people and the planet and our customers can buy wines that are sustainably produced,” he says. Seghesio produces 150,000 cases of wine annually, and 85 percent of that is Zinfandel.
Seghesio relies on their estate-grown fruit and numerous growers who are in tune with Seghesio’s viticulture practices. “My family has been growing grapes and making wine for five generations, and over this span we’ve developed many enduring and long term relationships with our growers. Our growers are integral to our success. We’re always seeking out growers with the best fruit,” Seghesio says. He explains how Zinfandel ripens unevenly—more so than any other grape they’ve ever worked with. “To get it right in the vineyard is costly, as our crews work the canopy and the crop load for maximum quality. Any clusters less than 75 percent colored at verasion (the onset of ripening) are lopped off and put on to the ground,” he explains. “Our 50 to 60 person vineyard crews are veterans in the vineyard and their attention to detail separates good Zin from mediocre Zin,” he says. Seghesio values the dedicated vineyard workers who make it all possible.
Visit their winery in Healdsburg and taste for yourself, how Seghesio Zinfandel is the best of the best in a bottle.
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