J. McClelland Cellars
Napa Valley AVA
Lead by one of Napa Valley's most prestigious winemaking teams
Named in honor of owner Anthony Scotto’s long-time friend and mentor, John McClelland, the entity made its first release in 2014. McClelland was a major factor in California’s wine industry and is the former president of both Almaden Vineyards and Geyser Peak Winery, each a major player in California’s wine development. The initial release was just under 2,000 cases and will remain a limited production brand that is also made at Steele Canyon Cellars’ winery.
J. McClelland Cellars purchases all of its fruit from Napa Valley growers under long-term contracts and is dedicated to producing terroir-driven wines that display the quality and richness that is emblematic of the Napa Valley.
After its initial release, J. McClelland Cellars has garnered an incredible total of competition awards as well as a number of 90+ scores for its remarkable wines. It is considered one of Napa Valley’s highest quality boutique labels.
Mitch Cosentino - Winemaker
For more than forty years, Mitch Cosentino has been considered one of California’s iconic winemakers. His Cosentino Winery in Yountville set the standard for varietal content and is a must stop for anyone visiting the Valley who is serious about wine. Cosentino serves as consulting winemaker to the Scotto Family’s interests and has been honored with the André Tchelistcheff Winemaker of the Year award and a number of his wines have been selected as “Best Wine” and “Best Cabernet” through the years. He is also the founder of the Meritage Association (now the Meritage Alliance), that unified efforts to establish parameters for Bordeaux-varietal blends in the United States.
Anthony Scotto III - Co-Owner
Few California winery owners or winemakers can boast of being the fifth generation of their family to toil in the wine business, but Anthony Scotto III is a bona-fide member of such a prestigious group.
Scotto, 40, is the great-great-grandson of Salvatore Scotto, who began making wine on the small Island of Ischia, just off Italy’s western coast near Naples. Salvatore’s son Dominic emigrated to Brooklyn, New York in 1903 and continued the family’s wine tradition. His son, Anthony Sr., began selling his father’s homemade wine from the family’s horse-drawn wagon. At one point, they created Villa Armando, a product that is still in production today after eight decades.
The Scotto Family moved to California in 1963 and settled in the Central Valley growing area around Lodi. Anthony Jr. entered the wine business in 1975 as both a winemaker and consultant. His son, Anthony III, is the current CEO of Scotto Cellars, the parent company that owns both of this month’s featured wineries. He is joined by his brother Paul, the founder of Sera Fina Cellars, a top winery in Amador County, and other members of his immediate family.
“We are basically a Lodi Family,” Anthony Scotto III commented recently, “We have made a living producing jug wine for quite a long time. The wine business has been really good to all of us.”
Scotto related that some 15 years ago, he was given the rights to Villa Armando Rustico, his family’s long-term flagship wine entity. “Once I got into it, I realized the fan base for the product was dying off and I had to explore some different areas in order to survive.”
His attention was drawn to Napa Valley, in his words “the epicenter of the fine wine business.” A location close by Lake Berryessa on Steele Canyon Road in the Vaca Mountains appealed to him and the Scotto Family agreed. In 2012, Steele Canyon Cellars became an integral part of Scotto Cellars.
“We were all excited by the prospect of being able to produce some really fine wines, and my brother Paul in particular. His winery in the Sierra Foothills had done well, but now he was able to compete in the big time of winemaking. He shares my feeling that some wines simply can’t be made outside Napa Valley. Like most winemakers, he has always aspired to produce exceptional wines and his record thus far proves it was an appropriate decision.”
The team that Anthony III has formed could easily serve as a model for aspiring wineries. In addition to Paul Scotto, Winemaker Mark Smith and heralded Consulting Winemaker Mitch Consentino provide an all-star lineup.
“Everyone contributes to the overall effort,” Scotto continued. “If Paul or Mark or Mitch find some useful fruit, we are in a position to act on it immediately. Size doesn’t really matter but quality is an absolute necessity. We have been able to craft a number of exceptional, high scoring wines using this method and everyone is happy with the results.”
Sister Natalie Scotto-Woods serves as the COO and operations director of Steele Canyon Cellars and brother Michael Scotto fills the dual role of production and general manager.
Is there an Anthony IV in the future for the winery? “Not really,” Scotto answered with a laugh. “My wife Alyssa is originally from Nebraska and I lobbied hard for an Anthony IV. In the end, we wound up naming our children Stantino, Nola and Roman. Stantino is nine and he regularly accompanies me as I did with both my father and grandfather. The wine business tends to rub off on anyone who comes into close contact with it as it did me. We are hoping that happens with Stantino, but you can never tell.”
Anthony Scotto III seems a fulfilled man. His two Napa wineries have been widely accepted by both the general public and the wine trade. He has allowed his celebrated winemaking team to do their own thing and make their own choices. He is content with two small wineries that produce a variety of outstanding varietals.
It is our pleasure to bring this small bit of Napa Valley to your attention. Cheers!