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Bargetto Family Winery - Santa Cruz Mountains


Only 950 cases were produced of this inaugural release of Bargetto’s fabulous 1996 Regan Ranch Merlot

Giuseppe Bargetto arrived in America in 1890 in search of a better life. Times were tough in his homeland of northern Italy during the late 1800’s. He heard stories about America and its life of opportunity and prosperity. As a vineyard owner in Piedmont, Italy, he was particularly intrigued by the reports of rich, fertile soil and wide open land of the California territory. After he arrived, it didn’t take long for Giuseppe to be convinced of the potential that awaited. He promptly went back to Italy to spread the word.

Giuseppe’s sons, Philip and John were keenly interested in what their father had discovered and soon found their way to California. Philip was the first of the brothers to arrive in 1891. He quickly found work at a small winery south of San Francisco. Philip’s great uncle Giovanni was the next to emigrate. They both worked at the winery until 1905 when they opened one of their own that they named Columbus Winery.

In 1909 Philip paid for his younger brother John to come to California. Soon after he arrived, the Bargetto clan purchased 4 acres of land and began growing wine grapes, fruits and vegetables. They sold their wine and produce to the small but growing community of European immigrants who had collected in the San Francisco area. The wine they produced was more like a large home-winemaking operation than it was a winery. They continued selling wine to the community until Prohibition hit in 1919.

In the early 1930’s, when it appeared that Prohibition would be repealed, the two brothers, Philip and John, planned a quick return into the commercial wine business. On December 5, 1933, the very day of Repeal, they founded Bargetto Winery.

Being the first and only winery in the area to open after Prohibition, their business flourished. They sold fruits and vegetables too, but clearly wine was the biggest part of their business. Consumer wine knowledge was very limited, so the wines made were mostly generic and delivered in barrels to local establishments.

Philip died suddenly in 1936, leaving John to direct the operation for the ensuing years. He continued the winery operations on a modest scale keeping overall production under 5,000 cases throughout the 1930’s and mid 1940’s.
After World War II, John’s sons, Lawrence and Ralph, became involved in the winery. Lawrence concentrated on the production and quality control, while Ralph focused on the marketing and sales. Now with more horsepower behind the winery, the facility was expanded and production doubled by the early 1950’s.

In 1966 Lawrence developed what was then an experimental wine made from different varieties of fruit. His first batch was a plum wine which he sold under the Chaucer’s label. Its instant success led to the quick development of additional fruit wine offerings, and by the early 1970’s Bargetto was producing a dozen different varieties.
Lawrence’s death in 1982 pushed the winery into yet another era of Bargetto family management which remains intact to this day. Beverly Bargetto stepped into her husband’s shoes to assume the leadership role. She also enlisted her eldest son, Martin, who at the time was managing a wine shop in Sacramento to gain retail sales and management experience. He immediately returned to the family winery to assume the role of General Manager and help his mother continue the ground work set by his father.

The mainstay of the Bargetto label over the last two decades primarily has been with four varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer. Merlot was recently added to the winery’s offerings and has quickly established itself as an important part of the varietal mix.
Paul Wofford has been Bargetto Winery’s winemaker for 11 years. At Bargetto, Paul has had free reign to develop and expand the winery’s offerings. Under his winemaking prowess, Bargetto wines have won over 250 medals in the wine-trade competitions. His efforts have been nationally and internationally recognized, by wine writers, wine-publications and consumers alike. Production today stands at 25,000 cases, plus an additional 12,000 cases made of the Chaucer’s line.



Dear Platinum Series Members,

Bargetto Winery has been committed to producing fine wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains for over 60 years. We remain a small family-owned winery and are the oldest continuously operating winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. So, it is with this heritage and much pride that we present our premiere offering of Santa Cruz Mountains Merlot. The 1996 vintage also represents our first Merlot from our own Regan Vineyard.
Bargetto’s own Regan Vineyards lies in the mountains above the town of Corrallitos overlooking the majestic Monterey Bay. The cool marine influence allows for an extended growing season (1 month longer than Napa or Sonoma) and perfect conditions to develop the concentration and depth of aromas and flavors that have come to define red wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains.
The fruit was fermented in small lots (1 ½) and punched down by hand daily. After pressing, the new wine was settled, allowed to complete the malo-lactic fermentation, and then racked to barrels for aging.
After 20 months in the cellar the wine was bottled unfined and only lightly filtered. The resulting wine displays ripe aromas of plums and cherries. The Cabernet Sauvignon added a cedar smokiness to the ample aromas. The flavors follow with ripe impressions of fruit. Lingering flavors lead to a full yet supple finish.


Paul Wofford
Winemaker

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