David Rossi leaves the corporate food industry behind to develop premium, balanced, small-lot Pinot Noir
Founded in 2005, Fulcrum Wines is the brainchild of David and Christinna Rossi, a husband and wife team dedicated to crafting world-class Pinot Noir from various vineyards and appellations in Northern California. Since the inaugural vintage in 2006, the Rossis have consistently earned prestigious medals and 90+ ratings for their efforts. What makes that statement even more impressive is the fact that David Rossi never received professional winemaking help (he is completely self-taught) and that he and his wife manage the business from their home in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey - across the country from their California winery operation.
David Rossi was born and raised in southern Arizona, where he grew up working various jobs in his family’s restaurant business. Upon receiving his degree in finance from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he began pursuing the corporate food marketing industry and worked for such major companies as Schwans, Tyson Foods, and H.J. Heinz.
David Rossi had been cooking and working in the food industry his entire life, but winemaking was a field that had always intrigued him.
David was living in Pittsburgh, and in 1997 took a local winemaking course that piqued his interest. He decided to start casually making wine at home, in his free time. What started as a hobby expanded into his basement which he quickly filled with commercial winemaking equipment and every wine chemistry textbook known to mankind. His bathtub was used as a depository for oak barrels and he was even contracting fruit from California and Washington. David credits his wife Christinna for being very patient as his wine laboratory, quite literally, took over their house.
After entering his wines in national amateur winemaking competitions and earning a number of medals, David decided winemaking was something he wanted to pursue professionally and Fulcrum Wines was born in 2005.
Why the name ‘Fulcrum’ and why Pinot Noir?
From a business standpoint, David wanted to capitalize on the rising tide with Pinot Noir, but he knew he had to do something different. Consumers were starting to gravitate away from the highly extracted, high-alcohol wines that were popular for sometime, and move toward a more restrained, food-friendly style.
David’s goal was to focus on this balance, which has become a critical concept when producing great Pinot Noir. He wanted the depth and complexity, but also a certain finesse and a little bit of restraint. Since the beginning, David’s winemaking style has centered around this idea of balance - weighing the importance of fruit expression, acid, tannin, alcohol, oak influence, and age-worthiness in each and every wine. The word Fulcrum, by definition, is ‘a point on which an object balances,’ and it seemed to embrace his philosophy completely. On each wine cork, a quote is printed from the ancient Greek physicist Archimedes, who explained the principle of a balancing lever - “Give me one firm spot on which to stand and I can move the earth.”
David’s first commercial release was a 2006 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. He chose the Anderson Valley because the region, due to its cool climate, produces Pinot that is more restrained and elegant in style. Since that release, David has worked with fruit from the Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Carneros, and Chalone appellations. He doesn’t want to limit himself to specific regions or boundaries; he simply selects vineyards he is inspired to work with and those with a notable reputation.
David crafts his Fulcrum wines at Bin to Bottle, a custom crush facility used by many small winemakers in Napa Valley. He still lives in New Jersey with his wife Christinna, but they travel to California several times a year to oversee the process and check in on the various contracted vineyards.
Christinna Rossi brings marketing and customer service experience to the Fulcrum Wines project, and oversees these aspects for the business. She also assists with blending decisions and participates in wine trade shows across the country.
Together, David and Christinna Rossi make up the two-man team behind Fulcrum Wines. Their intimate, exacting approach has resulted in many award-winning wines and we look forward to Fulcrum’s growth and future endeavors. Enjoy!
David Rossi - Owner, Winemaker
David Rossi is the incredibly talented, self taught winemaker behind Fulcrum Wines. David came to his craft as a home winemaker, a path that allowed him to develop his style with complete freedom, and without the commercially driven dictates that young winemakers often face when starting out in an established winery cellar setting.
To create luscious wines with the balance, complexity and depth of flavor for which Fulcrum is known, David generally selects slightly warmer sites, in very cool regions. These locations are warm enough to produce perfectly ripe fruit, but cool enough to allow the extended hang time that builds the complex flavors David seeks. David is very particular about the vineyards he works with and even goes as far as to select the specific blocks and rows of a vineyard he wants to source from.
David Rossi is about as hands-on as a winemaker can be, as he oversees every step of the process, including loading and hauling the fruit to the winery himself. He is truly dedicated to perfecting his craft and has become a Pinot Noir specialist in his own right.
The Anderson Valley’s Donnelly Creek Vineyard is managed by renowned winegrower Mary Elke. Mary has been farming Pinot Noir since 1978 and planted the Donnelly Creek Vineyard in 1991. Like many of David Rossi’s favorite vineyards, Donnelly Creek is a warmer site in a cool region, which allows the fruit to achieve the desired level of ripeness, while still ensuring poise and restraint. Donnelly Creek Vineyard is composed of creek side blocks of vines, bordered by steeply terraced vines, and is planted to several different clones of Pinot Noir.
The fruit from this site is incredibly compelling with characteristic notes of dark cherry and earth. The Anderson Valley AVA is located in Mendocino County, California. It was established in 1983 and is primarily known for its Pinot Noir and sparkling wine production.