by Fred McMillin
Big Winery, Small Prices
"One of the best-value wineries I found in writing my book on American wines was Delicato."
...From my interview of Prof. John Baxevanis after publication of his Wine Regions of America.
The Rest of the Story
This is how Delicato changed from very small to very large.
Let's see what the promise is all about.
There are 22 microclimates nurturing 22 different varietals in the enormous vineyard. My last figures show it was producing over 25% of the county's grapes, much more than Winemaker Tom Smith can use. So, his promise is to produce his varietal wines only in the good years, and sell the grapes of the lesser vintages. For example, 1995 was a good year for his Cabernet Sauvignon vines; my panel was mighty glad he didn't sell these grapes.
1995 Cabernet Sauvignon, Monterey, San Bernabe Vineyard
Where did the dollars come from to buy that enormous vineyard? WHITE ZINFANDEL! The White Z. boom increased winery sales to something like thirty million gallons a year. And the purchase has been a big success, also. Exactly 60 years after Gaspare opened his little wine cellar in 1935, Delicato/Monterra was the ninth largest wine producer in the U.S.A.
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