Vincent and Lise Ciolino have brought a little bit of Italy to Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley.
“We were captivated by the genuine quality of life in Montemaggiore, a small mountain village in southern Italy,” says Lise, who is the family’s winemaker. “Organically grown food and hand-crafted products are everywhere.”
That experience provided the inspiration for developing their own Montemaggiore on a small mountainside estate back home in northern California.
“Here in Sonoma County, Lise notes, “our dream is to produce exceptional red wines and olive oils, by hand, with pride and personal care. We live in harmony with the land, keep close family ties, and enjoy wonderful food and festivity.”
Lise crafts the Montemaggiore (pronounced mohn-tay-ma-JOHR-ray) wines from grapes that Vincent grows. Vincent also is in charge of making the olive oil. Or as he likes to put it: “I am the master of all things olive.”
Working the land is in his genes. His grandfather grew crops for food and hunted in Italy, and his father was known for growing some of the best tomatoes in all of Chicago.
‘My father’s secret was grass clippings and horse manure to crowd out the weeds and build up the soil,” George says. “That’s very similar to the cover crops and biodynamic compost I use today on our grapevines and olive trees in Dry Creek Valley.”
Vincent and Lise make quite a team, and their 2002 “Superiore” – a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah – is quite a cuvee. “The synergy between these two varietals always produces a wonderful, ageworthy wine,” Lise says.
Much like the great bottlings of Italy.