Winery Spotlight: Zichichi Family Vineyard
Toward the northern end of West Dry Creek Road, you’ll see a large wooden sign for Zichichi Family Vineyard nestled among the grapevines. A stop at their tasting room rewards guests with a delicious sensory experience. Almost all of Zichichi wines sell out as futures, before they are bottled. When you visit the winery, you are taken into the cellar and given barrel tastings. Some wineries offer barrel tastings at special events; it’s an unusual treat to enjoy Zichichi’s wines this way any day of the week.
In 2000, Steve Zichichi left New Orleans and his job as a physician to move West with his wife Kristin. The couple purchased Bartolozzi Ranch, a 22-acre vineyard in Dry Creek Valley. The vineyard consisted of 14 acres of zinfandel and 4 acres of petite sirah, planted in 1928 and 1964. The grapes thrive in gravelly soil, producing bold, full-bodied wines. At first, Steve sold the grapes to local farmers, but by 2006 he had truly been bitten by the wine bug, and the family opened their own winery.
Winemaker Michael Moore explains that wines begin being tasted in barrel when they are just 3 months old. While half the fun is predicting what the wine will taste like a couple years later after time in the bottle, the wine still has to taste appealing in youth. Moore has a talent for making wines that are robust yet balanced, with supple tannins and approachable fruit flavors. All grapes in Zichichi Family Vineyard Zinfandel and Petite Sirah are hand-harvested from their estate. Total case production at Zichichi is about 4,000 cases per year. In a typical year, every wine they make sells out before it is bottled.
Zichichi Family Vineyard enjoys a cult following in Dry Creek Valley and has garnered critical acclaim. The 2007 Old Vine Estate Zinfandel was a Wine Enthusiast Editor’s Choice and scored 95 points.
The tasting room features a beautiful redwood bar and a patio deck that overlooks vineyards and local mountains. It is open daily from 11am-4:30pm.