SBRAGIA FAMILY VINEYARD IS A DREAM THAT I've had for some time, a small, family-owned winery making limited, individual lots of wine from grapes grown in select blocks of my favorite vineyards. I've always had one foot in Sonoma and the other in Napa. Both areas mean a lot to me emotionally. I'm more attached to Healdsburg and Dry Creek Valley because it's where I raised my kids. But the wines that I've made at Beringer are like children, so Napa is also a very special place for me. Either way, the wines are intensely personal, an expression not only of terroir, but of my family's winemaking heritage.
Our history in Healdsburg dates back to my grandfather who came from Tuscany in 1904 and worked in many wineries including the historic Italian Swiss Colony. I had the pleasure of working with my father in our family vineyards in Dry Creek Valley while growing up. His philosophy was that winemaking was a natural process; all you needed for good wine was good land, good grapes and good techniques. He was right, and that has been my guiding principle since the start of my career.
A big part of the appeal of doing my own label is working with my family. My son, Adam, makes the wines with me. My youngest son, Kevin, works in the cellar during harvest. Adam's wife, Kathy, runs our HR, and my wife, Jane, and daughter, Gina, are often found helping out in the tasting room. With the birth of Adam and Kathy's two daughters Siena and Gemma Julia, the fifth generation of the Sbragia family continues to thrive here in the beautiful Dry Creek Valley.
The family vineyards are my father's legacy to me and my children. I love this land and making wine from it, and bottling it under the family name affirms all the work my father did for me. It's something I had to do to say thank you to him, my dad, Gino. -Ed Sbragia
At Sbragia Family Vineyards, we source grapes from about 50 acres of family-owned estate vineyards that the Sbragias have been farming for over 100 years in historic Dry Creek Valley, just outside the town of Healdsburg. Ed and Adam also purchase grapes from thier favorite vineyards throughout Sonoma and Napa Valleys.
I've always had one foot in Sonoma and one in Napa, with a deep appreciation and passion for the unique character of each growing region. After 32 years of making wine in the Napa Valley, I returned home to Healdsburg and Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma to start a small family-owned winery making limited, individual lots of wine from grapes grown select blocks of my favorite Sonoma and Napa Vineyards." - Ed Sbragia
Joshua Klapper – Winemaker, La Fenêtre / TIMBRE WINERY
La Fenêtre was founded in 2005 by a sommelier with a simple idea — to produce balanced, food friendly wines from some of the worlds finest vineyard sources. Expressing the terroir of the Santa Maria Valley, and the Central Coast at large is our guiding principle. That means picking at the perfect balance of sugar and acidity, employing minimally invasive techniques in the winery, stringent barrel selection, and a long, slow aging period, both in barrel and bottle.
In my opinion, winemaking is a method of expressing terroir, and not just any terroir, but great terroir.
What is ter·roir (terˈwär/)? The complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, including factors such as the soil, topography, and climate. It includes the characteristic taste and flavor imparted to a wine by the environment in which it is produced.
To recognize great terroir, one needs to have experienced it in its many facets, and that is where my background as a sommelier gives me a leg up. Having tasted many of the world’s greatest wines, greatest vintages, and greatest winemakers, I have learned to read the intrinsic quality of a wine, and through that wine, the place from which it was born.
The goal of our winemaking is to express a snapshot of a place (vineyard) and time (vintage) that will never occur again. That goal is achieved through enhancing and showcasing the terroir, not hiding it. We strive to produce wines of balance which serves to convey not any one element – aroma, sweetness, acidity, alcohol, minerality, earth, complexity – but all of the elements in the wine in perfect harmony. To that end, the fruit is picked at a reasonable level of potential alcohol (nothing obscures terroir like over-ripeness of fruit), and is then handled gently in the winery using minimally invasive techniques. The wine is then given the time in barrel that it needs to become fully realized. No wine is bottled before its time!
Pinot Noir is certainly finicky. You must pay attention to Pinot Noir, but don’t try to poke and prod or you will have destroyed its essence. I believe the key is to start with fruit that has been grown to the highest standards from a place where the terroir’s beauty is evident. We typically destem the fruit into small fermenters, but sometimes, it is added as whole clusters. The wine is then punched down by hand, or gently pumped over until the fermentation is complete. We then collect the free run and press juice in barrel for a long, slow maturation until the wine is ready to be bottled.
Chardonnay is whole cluster pressed in order to keep the harsh elements in the skins and seeds from adulterating the flesh of the grape. The juice is collected and settled before going into barrel where it will spend its entire life in the cellar, from fermentation to aging on the fine lees through to bottling. Chardonnay’s beauty lies in its aromatics and texture, and its ability to take in oxygen during the barrel aging and produce flavors like almonds, coconut, and passion fruit and the texture of silk to accompany the bright citrus qualities inherent in its grapes from the moment of picking.
Riesling, like Pinot Noir, is a great expresser of terroir. Unlike Pinot Noir though, which likes to be handled very carefully so as not to upset its precarious balance, Riesling can be stripped down to its bare bones. The fruit is picked more for its high level of acidity than any other factor inherent in the grape. After whole cluster pressing, the juice is fined with a natural clay, which pulls out solids and leaves the juice perfectly clear. Then, the juice is chilled to 50 degrees to await the start of fermentation, which is slow and methodical (at around 55 degrees) taking from 4-8 weeks to complete. Once the sugar has balanced the acidity in the fruit, the wine is chilled all the way down to 30 degrees to stop fermentation, where it stays until it is ready to be bottled.