"The personality of a tasting room can say as much of the aspirations and values of a winery as its wines. Whenever you walk into the tasting room of the Charles Spinetta Winery in Amador County's Shenandoah Valley you sense right away that this is a hands-on family business with each member pursuing their chores with as much joy as pride. Charlie, the patriarch, could be behind the counter, cracking wise while pouring tastes for touring wine enthusiasts. His wife, Laura, could be just across the aisle, in her work station, painstakingly framing paintings for the wildlife art gallery upstairs. Their three sons would be here and there, tending fermentation tanks in one wing, moving around pallets of cased wines in another."
“For the next three weeks we work seven days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day,” said Spinetta. “If I’m not here working, I’m at home thinking about the next day.”
While the weather is a bit brisk in the early morning, the processing area for the Zinetta is kept even cooler at around 50 degrees. “It’s an interesting year for grapes they are smaller from a cold spring and some bud differentiation we’re seeing some shatter on the grapes caused by rain,” Spinetta said. “Most wineries are down thirty to forty percent on their crops, some even higher.”
Wine enthusiasts need not worry, however. The smaller grapes will provide more color, and processing will yield darker, intensely flavorful wine. With certainly a multitude of factors going into the making of wine, the Zinetta that was being processed on Monday morning provided a good educational experience on the winemaking process.
“We intentionally utilize a colder, slower fermentation process with the Zinetta,” said Spinetta. “From the thousand pound bins, we use gentle crushing methods and chilled tanks for soft fermentation. The material inside our bladder press is even softer than the material that makes up the impellers in our pumps. We press up to twenty tons in each press load.”
Many changes and advances have been introduced to the wine industry in the past ten years. Filtering systems now get down to .5 microns at Spinetta even a cross flow filtering system that provides two filtrations at once. “With the right batch we can filter up to 1,600 gallons an hour,” Spinetta said.
Even with the changes and the excitement of another harvest season, one item that has not changed is being a steward of the land. “The stems collected in the winemaking process are actually used to feed not only the deer and other natural habitat in the area, but to our cows as well,” Spinetta said. “The cows come running when they see us drive up with an orange bin they love it. We love it too, as giving back to the land and the area we have come to love, generation after generation makes Amador County a special place to call home.”
While Fun and Yummy brands of Spinetta have been sold out, the new vintage will be available mid-to-late November. “My mother Laura, came up with the name Zinetta,” said Spinetta. “And our Fun and Yummy brands continue to grow in popularity year after year. We’re looking forward to this year’s wines.”
Charles Spinetta Winery is located at 12557 Steiner Road, Plymouth. For more information, visit www.charlesspinettawinery.com, or call 245-3384.
Rosé Wins Top Honors at the 2011 Amador County Fair Wine Tasting
This wine made it to the top four - possibly the top two of the ENTIRE SHOW in all categories in the 2011 Amador County Fair Wine Tasting. We walked away with "Best Rosé" and a "Gold Medal" and are very proud of this wine winning - especially considering it's only been around for two years!
And we don't enter every wine in every competition just to stock up awards (the Rosé won a "Silver Medal" at the 2011 Consumer Wine Awards in Lodi sponsored by the Lodi Tokay Rotary Club.) We only entered a few of ours here and in one other competition this year. We know you love our sweet wines, and we listen to our customers, not necessarily judges, as to what to make for a wine!
We thank all of you for this recognition of the Rosé over 155 years of agribusiness locally shows our efforts to sustain for future generations.
The 2007 Petite Sirah was chosen as Sacramento Bee's Wine of the Week! What a way to ring in the New Year. Visit soon to try some of this lovely wine while we still have it in stock. For a limited time, visitors get a special price when they walk out with three bottles.
Click here to read the article online! "The tannins of the 2007... taste as if they've been stretched as thin and fine as al dente linguine... Aside from the soft tannins, the petite sirah is a faithful representative of the varietal..."
IN HOUSE SPECIALS
Come in and check them out! There's always something or some things...
Keep your wine cool on the way home from the tasting room and rehydrate yourself with water after tasting!