Buoncristiani Family Winery
Napa Valley AVA
A collection of stunning wines from Napa Valley
Some wineries have good stories to tell, others contain great narratives that make them memorable and seemingly bigger than life. Such is the case with Buoncristiani Family Winery, a fledgling Napa Valley producer that has been making waves the size of a tsunami with its wonderful wines.
Buoncristiani Family Winery is also about as family-oriented as possible, with four Buoncristiani brothers involved in its operation. Brothers Matt, Jay, Aaron, and Nate are the winery’s founders and owners, all working together to craft their award-winning Napa Valley wines.
“We all have purple arms and purple feet,” asserted Jay Buoncristiani, the winery’s full-time winemaker and informal spokesman. “When we started doing this, we all agreed to do the work ourselves to be able to insure the quality we wanted to achieve.”
It all began as a part time hobby for their father, Robert, who started making wines in his two-car Napa garage a number of years ago. When the winemaking process was completed, the equipment was moved out and the structure was returned to its original garage state. This scene was reenacted for many years and many of Robert’s wines earned high awards in wine fairs and competitions.
In 1995, the four brothers started to take an idea they had to the next level. They agreed to work together to attempt to produce a commercial wine that would carry the family name. By 1999, the family garage had become a bonded winery, among the smallest on record in either Napa or all of California.
In 2001, Buoncristiani Family Winery released its first 300 cases of OPC Cabernet Sauvignon (named for the boys’ maternal grandfather Jack, Ol’ Pa’s Cuvée). While the family’s fraternal side traces back to Tuscany, there is great attention paid to blends and family preferences with regard to Buoncristiani Family wines.
Today, each of the four brothers hold a definitive role in the Buoncristiani Family Winery – Matt serves as the managing partner, Jay is the winemaker, Aaron assists with winemaking and offers his artwork for the wine labels, and Nate collaborates on marketing and sales. Since only family members touch the wines, the place can truly be called a family-only winery as opposed to a family-owned winery. What is unique about Buoncristiani is the amount of accolades and awards they have managed to garner for their efforts.
“It sort of seemed to us that we should do well with our wines,” added Jay Buoncristiani. “After all, our wines were doing well where we all worked (Jay was, at the time, winemaker for the prestigious Hess Collection and is currently a consulting winemaker to a select few other Napa wineries).”
Buoncristiani has recently opened their much anticipated cave space winery, a 20,000 square foot facility including an underground state-of-the-art winery and tasting room. The space is known as The Caves at Soda Canyon and is shared with two other small Napa Valley wineries. Sitting atop the Vaca Mountains, the site has beautiful panoramic views from St. Helena to San Francisco, and promises to be a very popular destination for wine enthusiasts. After many years of planning and construction, the Buoncristianis celebrated their official opening of the cave space in September 2013.
The business has also grown and currently produces around 5,000 cases per year, a level the Buoncristiani Family Winery is comfortable with and plans to maintain for the foreseeable future.
“We have talked it over a number of times, and at 5,000 cases, we can still control everything ourselves, and that is extremely important to all of us,” Buoncristiani continued. “That way, we can still build for the future and turn our dream into something special.
“We want to share our passion with our friends and customers,” finalized Jay Buoncristiani. “We have a number of long term grape contracts with some of the finest small growers you can find in Napa, so we should have the correct fruit to take us to the next level. Everything we do is completely hands on, and that is simply not going to change.”
The incredible success of this small family winery is a tribute to their resoluteness and ability to work together under not always ideal circumstances.
Map of the area
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
It is with great pleasure that my brothers and I contribute again to the Platinum Series of the Gold Medal Wine Club. Our Napa Syrah program has been in our portfolio since 2001, and the 2007 is a stunner. I encourage you to pop it open with your beloved buddies that really enjoy big and balanced red wines, especially Syrah...or even better yet, pop it open with those great pals of yours that maybe don’t usually dig Syrah and prepare to wow them with the layers of complexity and YUM FACTOR that our Buoncristiani Artistico Syrah possesses year in and year out.
Speaking of years, this particular vintage is made of the kind of stuff that rattles my happy synapses and blankets me with that warm, proud feeling of accomplishment. Bottom line, my bros and I feel very strongly that this bottle of wine showcases what really great Napa Syrah is all about. The proof’s in the pudding we like to say, so pop the cork and prepare to smile...or do what we do, lay it down for 10 years and discover how the wine continues to evolve.
By the way, a side note about the label art. We created the series “Artistico” to fuse winemaking passion with other forms of art expression. The name gives homage to the fact that wine blending is an art form, and each year is different, so we have a different art piece on the label every vintage. The ’07 label is graced with a painting by one of the brothers, Aaron Buoncristiani, titled The Gift. Hope you enjoy the full package, Cheers!