To winemaker Brooks Painter, V. Sattui is about the 45 or so wines he makes — one for every taste, ranging from summer sparklers to big, hearty reserve cabernets.
The winery sells dry white wines, fruity white wines, reds and roses, zinfandels, two Italian wines and four dessert wines, including a vintage port and California Madeira. Its 11 cabernets are all from the Napa Valley and all but two sell for $22 to $48 a bottle. Its 2004 “Steve Lee” Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is the most expensive at $125.
Painter and Davies call themselves “lucky” winery executives, since they are always at the winery and don’t have to travel to see their distributors like other winery executives. All of V. Sattui wines are sold direct to consumers, either at the winery or through the Internet.
Painter has been at V. Sattui Winery since 2005; before that, he spent five years at Robert Mondavi Winery. From 1995 to 2000, Brooks was employed at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. He said he likes the family-run V. Sattui Winery: a decision can be made in five minutes, rather than weeks or months it could take at a corporate-run winery.
He is in charge of both the viticulture and winemaking at V. Sattui Winery. On the viticulture side, he oversees 260 acres of vineyard and has 16 full-time employees. He also works with grapegrowers in their vineyards for the grapes that he buys under long-term contracts. On the production side, Brooks employs 13 people. He also oversees storage of the red wine barrels at Dario Sattui’s Calistoga facility, the underground caves at Castello di Amorosa.
The wine is made from old head-trained zinfandel vines, planted in the 1960s, grown in Chiles Valley. Painter buys the grapes, and the care taken to grow the grapes and make the wine shows.
Todd Graff from Frank Family Vineyard said the wine tastes of fresh cherry, stone fruits and peach. “It is sweet fun, fresh fruit salad and youthful.”
Brooks said, “Local people think we’re a deli and picnic ground. I’m doing my best to convince people we’re making good wine.”