Napa Valley AVA
"We wanted the tasting experience to be special"
The City of Reno is famous for many wonderful happenings, including one of Napa Valley’s premier wineries, the Arger-Martucci Vineyards. The story of its inception makes a marvelous story.
Dr. Kostas Arger and Rich Martucci shared the same home town, Reno, along with a passion for wine. The two met sometime in the mid-1990’s, at a wine tasting group, and became fast friends. Dr. Arger was at the time a renowned cardiologist and Martucci a successful banker. Dr. Arger had harbored a dream since the late 1960’s, when he worked for a harvest under iconic Napa Valley winemaker Joe Heitz. He had always hoped for a winery of his own and successfully convinced Martucci that their accumulated expertise was literally what the doctor ordered.
Both families bought property in Napa Valley, and Arger’s dream became a reality in 1998. Arger-Martucci Vineyards was formed and the first wines were released (500-600 cases) the following year.
“It was truly a partnership that was made in heaven,” commented Vince Martucci, 30, general manager and assistant winemaker of the winery. “Dr. Arger was already making wine for some time and possessed a really keen palate. My Dad was the complete businessman, and was willing to do the things (bookkeeping, compliance, etc.) that none of us wanted to do. The relationship tended to work perfectly.” Another Reno family, the Truchards (Truchard Vineyards) of Carneros fame, helped the new venture by giving tips on growing and selling their fruit. Almost one-half of the fruit grown on the two families’ combined 40 acres is sold to various wineries; the remainder goes into making Arger-Martucci Vineyards’ exemplary wines.
“It was sort of funny,” added Vince Martucci. “At first, we didn’t really enter any competitions or the like. In 2004, we made the decision to enter and the rest is history. We have been fortunate to receive a number of extremely high marks and have been awarded some impressive medals.” There might be a secret to the winery’s overall success. Early on, the two partners developed a philosophy of treating their customers with special care. Each visitor to the winery gets individual treatment, a far cry from the “in and out” mentality that some wineries employ.
“We wanted the tasting experience to be special,” Vince Martucci explained further. “We wanted it to be like Napa Valley was in the 60’s and 70’s, when you were invited to someone’s dinner table to taste wines. We sought to regain the old Napa Valley flavor of smaller and more personal.” Today, Arger-Martucci Vineyards produces about 5,000 cases per year and is content with its present production. Since its permit allows for 8,000 cases, there is always the possibility of future growth for the business.
“Right now, we are right where we want to be,” Martucci smiled. “We are having fun doing what we really want to do. There are actually five members of the combined families that have a hand in the winery.” Anthony Arger, 29, serves as the venture’s outside sales and marketing manager. Rich Martucci, Jr. runs the winery’s all-important wine club along with his wife.
As mentioned above, Vince Martucci has been with the winery since 2002. He assists Dr. Arger with the winemaking chores and serves as the entity’s general manager.
The Arger-Martucci Vineyards label is another Reno story. Gina Carano (of Healdsburg’s highly successful Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery) is another Renoite and during a party sketched a design on a napkin. Everyone liked the design and the first label evolved a short time later.
“I guess you can say that people from Reno are quite close,” admitted Martucci. “It is quite improbable that so many of us have made a success at such a high level in the wine business.” Blending time is another yearly adventure for the staff of Arger-Martucci Vineyards. Several of the winery’s club members are invited along with some family friends. Dr. Arger presides over the gathering with strong encouragement from Vince Martucci. In the end, the consensus of opinion is usually followed, thus allowing for a communally approved wine.
The public relations value of such a gesture is undoubtedly off the charts with the winery’s customers and friends. The plaudits received by the company’s wines seem to argue that some excellent palates have had a hand in the wines’ development.
Three cheers for Arger-Martucci Vineyards and their most personal approach to winemaking and wine selling. It is something of a shame that other wineries don’t follow their compelling lead.
A Personal Note from Richard Martucci Sr.
Dear Platinum Series Members,
We are very excited to have you taste the 2005 Arger-Martucci Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes were all grown in our vineyards up in the Atlas Peak region of the Napa Valley. Our vines are all farmed to produce very small tonnage so that we can extract the very best flavors from our crop.
This wine was aged in barrel for 22 months. The Wine Enthusiast gave this wine 93 Points, and the 2009 California State Fair also awarded it a Gold Medal in 2009.
We hope you enjoy the wine and become fans of the Arger-Martucci Vineyards brand. We look forward to your feedback. Enjoy the wine!
Richard Martucci Sr.