We are a family-owned and operated winery and produce about 150 cases per year. Currently, we are only licensed to sell in California.
It all started over 50 years ago when I was very young and would watch my grandfather, an immigrant from northern Italy, in his cellar in Stockton fill barrels with wine he made each year with the neighbor. He always made zinfandel because that’s what was available from his Italian friends.
After the wine was finished fermenting and placed into a barrel I can remember going down into the cellar with him, carrying a gallon glass jug to fill for large family dinners. We never bottled the wine from the barrel, only removed what was needed at the time. Every year less than half a barrel was consumed by family, friends, and neighbors before the wine would go “sour.” Little did we know that every time we withdrew a gallon of wine, we put a gallon of air into the barrel! The remaining wine in the barrel was either thrown out or left eventually turning to vinegar. Needless to say, we supplied the whole neighborhood with vinegar.
In 1979 after my grandfather had passed, I decided to make wine on my own. I did some reading and purchased several books on home winemaking before our first crush. We purchased a ½ ton of Zinfandel from Oakley, CA and de-stemmed them by hand (with help) and crushed them by foot. Everything was fermented in new plastic garbage cans and then we borrowed a small press to extract the wine from the must. The first barrel was aged for one year before it was bottled. Luckily, we had learned about minimizing the amount of air in contact with the wine by topping off the barrel every few weeks and adding a bit of potassium metabisulfite.
Over the next few years we met several other home winemakers who were all interested in learning more about the wine-making process, so several of us decided to attend some of the UC Davis weekend winemaking and chemistry courses.
In 1984 we decided to plant our own vineyard on property we acquired in 1981 in Amador County in the town of Volcano at 3000 feet elevation. Bianchini cellars was the first bonded winery in Volcano, CA. The vineyard was planted with Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon about equally split. The first crop was harvested in 1988 with the help of friends and family. The vineyard produced more grapes as time passed and we and our friends could only drink so much wine each year. A few years later we began selling grapes to other home winemakers in small quantities and keeping only enough for us to produce a couple of barrels of wine.
Over the years we entered various county fairs and won many medals. People would always ask if they could purchase our wine. Since we were not bonded, we were unable to sell anything until 2009 when the bonded winery was established on the property.
We hope you enjoy our wine!
Greg & Lori