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by Fred McMillin
for January 7, 2000

 

Winery of the Week

A New Winery for a New Millennium


Prologue

Not so long ago, Sebastiani Vineyards introduced a new line of low-cost, well-crafted wines named Vendage (French for "vintage"). Before long its sales exceeded four million cases making it the fourth-largest-selling brand in the U.S.A.


The Rest of the Story

The Vendage wines are made in the Central Valley of California. Now, Sebastiani has introduced a new label, using grapes from the cool coastal regions of the state.

Farallon Islands

Farallon Islands

What name would symbolize the cool, foggy maritime influence on the source vineyards? How about the cold, rocky islands 30 miles off the entrance to the San Francisco Bay? The first European to see them, Sir Francis Drake, called them The Islands of St. James. However, the first Europeans to OWN them were the Spanish. Hence, they were called the Farallones, meaning "small rocky islands in the sea." It is pronounced "FAIR-ah-lon."

Savvy Sebastiani winemaker Melissa Bates currently has five, $10 Farallon wines on the market, two Chardonnays and three reds, Merlot, Cab and Pinot Noir.

The 1997 Pinot provides a good example of the fine grape sources. For just ten bucks you're getting fruit from Carneros, Russian River Valley and Alexander Valley. Vendage move over. Here comes Farallon.

Contact—Jason Breaw, (707) 933-3287, FAX (707) 933-3370

My Panel's Opinion—If you drink $10 varietals, you will be very glad you tried a Farallon. Good values.


Postscript

Those successful Sebastianis: (production by three generations)
1916—150,000 cases (founder Samuele Sebastiani)
1975—500,000 cases (by August, Samuele's son)
1997—Over seven million (by Don, third generation)

 
About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

 
 


This page created January 2000

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