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C. Donatiello Winery
Let in the heart of the Middle Reach of the Russian River, C. Donatiello Winery is dedicated to the production of this noble region’s finest Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Chris Donatiello earned his stripes in New York where he spent years marketing and selling a number of well-known, luxury brand wines and spirits. Taking his business expertise and combining it with his love of wine and entrepreneurial spirit, he came to the West Coast intent on creating a premium, boutique winery in the Russian River Valley. Chris teamed up with venture capitalist legend Bill Hambrecht, whose previous vine ventures include Gary Farrell, Ravenswood, and Ridge. Together they acquired an old winery that produced 125,000 cases. They scaled it down to a sophisticated boutique winery producing 6,600 cases with state-of the-art equipment.
“We focus on finding the best vineyards the Russian River has to offer to make wines which are truly representative of the place from which they come,” Chris explains. He is joined by two more New Yorkers: the winemakers. Troy McEnery grew up in Queens, New York, and discovered his first interest in winemaking at home with his father and grandfather. The corporate world lured him away for six years before he realized that his hobby was, in fact, his passion. This epiphany led him to quit his job and head for California. As many “right coasters” do, he fell in love with the place—Sonoma County in particular—and now relishes his opportunity to implement processes that allow him to literally handcraft every bottle.
Troy’s colleague, Webster Marquez, trained in the relatively unforgiving grape growing climate of Virginia before arriving west. Webster believes the Russian River Valley wines are unique in expressing their climate, vintage, and vineyards. At C. Donatiello he, Chris, and Troy, are able to draw out those expressions with the winery’s organically farmed, small-lot production. To this end, the winemaking operations specialize in artisan wines from estate and specially chosen vineyards in the Russian River Valley. Considering the soil properties and climate of their terroir, the winery is confident that its choice to focus on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is the right one.
C. Donatiello Winery provides a quiet place to get away from it all. Its atmosphere is serene and rural, yet sophisticated. The winery’s commodious, high-ceilinged tasting room has a homey feeling. It is complemented by koi ponds, a cherry orchard, a rose garden with more than 15 kinds of roses, and a sumptuous aroma garden, heady with fresh herbal and fruit scents which mirror the aromas of the wines. Strolling casually through the garden, visitors appreciate smelling and tasting the plants, herbs, and fruits which exemplify the scents found in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Wine tourers need little coaxing when they are encouraged to pause for a bit and enjoy the stunning views of the Russian River Valley over lunch and a bottle C. Donatiello wine.
This article has been provided compliments of Touring & Tasting magazine.