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Gold Medal Wine Club
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Santa Barbara, California 93111
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Renteria Wines - Napa Valley

90 Points, Gold Medal,

One of the great Mexican-American success stories is that of Salvador Renteria, the heart and soul behind this month’s Pinot Noir Series feature of Renteria Wines. His story is one of innovation, hard work, and serious love of the land. It is a journey that began in 1962 and today comes full circle, as his son Oscar continues the Renteria family tradition as one of Napa Valley’s most respected and sought after winegrowers. Salvador Renteria is a Mexican immigrant from Jalisco, Mexico, who followed his older brother north to Napa Valley to work a wine grape harvest in the early 1960’s. Salvador had been working as a barber in Mexico, but was tempted by the endless opportunities California had to offer. This trip to Napa Valley seemed to be the start of something better.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t quite the case. Salvador was miserable during his first harvest, with the fall of 1963 bringing unusually wet weather, and he returned home to Mexico after just a few months. The career opportunities of California and the United States continued to pull at him though, and that same year he moved to Chicago to pursue a future in barbering. Again, Salvador didn’t find what he was looking for. He finally decided to give Napa
Valley a second chance, and took a job as a field laborer at Sterling Vineyards.

This time, the fit was undeniable. Salvador fell in love with the wine grape growing culture, and took a special interest in nearby UC Davis’s vineyard trials for optimizing the technical aspects of vineyards. His talents were quickly recognized and Sterling promoted Salvador to vineyard supervisor where he excelled in his position for the next decade. With news of Salvador Renteria’s innovative grape management techniques spreading throughout the Valley, a number of wineries approached him to oversee their own vineyards. Before long, Salvador was working with Beaulieu Vineyards, Clos Pegase, Cuvaison and Silverado, lowering their yields and upping the grape quality. His hispanic heritage proved to be beneficial as well, as it helped bridge the often difficult cultural and communication gaps between wineries and vineyard workers. Salvador Renteria was on the fast track to success.

Fast forward to 1987 and Salvador had started his own vineyard management company (Renteria Vineyard Management), one of the first Mexican owned vineyard management companies in Napa Valley and today, one of the largest in the industry. Current clients include such prestigious estates as Robert Mondavi Winery, Caymus, Rombauer, and Duckhorn.

In 1993, Salvador’s son Oscar, who had worked alongside his father for many years, took over the reins of the company and molded it into the successful business it is today. Renteria Wines became a reality four years later in 1997, completing the circle of the family’s involvement in northern California’s wine industry. The family winery was Oscar’s idea, and he called upon legendary winemaker Karen Culler to consult on the project and help make it happen. Together, they produced the first vintage in 1997 and that first release (a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon) garnered an impressive 91 Points. Renteria Wines is a small operation, producing just about 2,000 cases each year of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir from various vineyards controlled by the Renteria Vineyard Management Company. With access to some of the most sought after vineyards in Napa and Sonoma Counties, Renteria’s wine grape choices are practically unlimited, putting the winery in an unusually flexible position in obtaining world-class fruit.

Today, Oscar Renteria is excited about the progress of Renteria Wines’ Mt. Veeder winery facility. The family’s winery and cave system have been under construction since 2006, and with the finishing touches being made, they hope to be crushing there in the near future.

Renteria Wines, and the family behind it, are undoubtedly a special addition to the northern California wine culture and we hope you enjoy the fruits of their labor with this month’s special wine selection. Cheers!

  1. Renteria
    2007 Pinot Noir
    Vimark Vineyard


    90 Points - Gold Medal
    id: 873
    Pinot Noir

Karen Culler is one of the great winemakers of Napa and Sonoma

Consulting for a number of northern California wine country’s most celebrated estates: Ladera, Rivera Vineyards, Wolf Family Vineyards, Culler Wines (her own label), and Renteria Wines. Culler’s talent is unmistakable as she crafts among the most sought-after wines in the state. Culler found inspiration as a child, making homemade wine with her father and grandfather in her hometown state of Ohio. She went on to study botany and agronomy while attending Ohio State University, and found her way into the wine industry at Colombia Winery in Seattle, Washington. A year later, Culler went back to school to earn a masters degree in viticulture and
enology at UC Davis, and found a rewarding internship with Robert Mondavi Winery in their research department. That connection lead Culler to her first winemaking position at Vichon Winery (owned by Mondavi) in 1986, and rest is history. Culler has been crafting stunning, award-winning wines ever since, focusing on vineyard-designated bottlings that showcase the best winegrowing regions California has to offer.

About The Region

Renteria’s 2007 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir comes from the small Vimark Vineyard, near the Russian River and just north of Forestville. The site is known for producing beautiful Pinot Noirs, as it receives all the benefits of the nearby river: cool temperatures, fog, and alluvial soil with excellent drainage. The result is concentrated, ripe, and balanced fruit with wonderful purity. Since Renteria manages the vineyard block from which this Pinot Noir was sourced, the grapes are grown to their own specific standards and show an exemplary approach to crafting premium Russian River Valley Pinot. Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley became an official AVA (American Viticultural Area) in 1983 and today encompasses over 15,000 total acres planted to premium wine grape vineyards.

Smothered Pork Sandwiches


1 1/2 pounds pork loin
1 carrot, cut in half
1 large onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves
3 tsp. salt
8 crusty rolls

For the tomato sauce:
4 pounds ripe tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
3 med. onions, cut in thick slices
1/2 cup water
3 tsp. salt

For the spicy sauce:
2 ounces cascabel chiles
2 ounces chiles de arbol
2 tsp. dried oregano
3 tsp. salt


Place the meat in a large saucepan with water to cover. Add the carrot, onion, garlic and salt and cook until tender, about 45 minutes. Let the meat cool, then cut in thin strips. To make the tomato sauce, combine the tomatoes, garlic, onions, water and salt in a saucepan and simmer about twenty minutes, until the tomatoes and onions are cooked through. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Puree and strain. Serve lukewarm or cold. For the spicy sauce, roast the chiles on a griddle and remove the stems. Puree with oregano, salt and water.
Slice the rolls in half, but not all the way through. Fill with the meat. Spoon tomato sauce over half of each sandwich. Add the spicy sauce to taste. Enjoy!

Grilled Rosemary Salmon Spedini


2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes


Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Combine rosemary, oil, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the salmon and toss to coat. Alternating the salmon and tomatoes, divide among eight 12 inch skewers. Oil the grill rack. Grill the spedini, carefully turning once, until the salmon is cooked through. About 4-6 minutes total. Serve immediately and enjoy with a glass of Pinot Noir!