Mario Perelli-Minetti Winery
Sonoma County region
Continuing to make outstanding wines using the same family recipe from 1978
This month’s Platinum Wine Club selection is unique in a number of ways. While the history of the Mario Perelli-Minetti Winery dates as far back as 1978, the indelible stamp of the Perelli-Minetti Family dates back to the very early part of the 20th Century.
It was in 1902 that Antonio Perelli-Manetti first stepped foot in California to seek his fortune. His family had been in the wine business for several generations in Northern Italy and Antonio was determined to prove himself in California. He brought with him a proven record for making quality wines.
He settled in Sonoma and in a few years had his own winery. His son Mario worked in the vineyards and later graduated from Stanford Law School. After a few years in private practice, Mario felt the calling of the grape and returned to the family business because, “It was in my blood.”
The Perelli-Minettis owned a number of wineries in different parts of California and became icons of the early California wine business. Mario, a salesman extraordinaire, became a living legend in the San Francisco Bay Area where he was said to know personally every person of importance in the wine business.
The baton of succession passed on to Andrew ‘Andy’ Perelli-Minetti when his grandfather Mario passed away at the age of 101 in August of 2010. It should be noted that Mario dressed (suit and tie) until his death and continued to call on his loyal cadre of customers.
Today’s Mario Perelli-Manetti Winery is a sleek version of its former self. It will produce around 2,000 cases of exceptional wine that is usually divided into small lots. Owner Andy Perelli-Minetti sources extremely high quality grapes from growers that have known his family for many decades.
“I only seek out the very best fruit from people I know and trust. My customers know me well and they recognize what they are getting in the bottle. It’s the same recipe that my family has followed for centuries now, buy great grapes and make even greater wines.”
Andy seems well-suited for his immediate quest. He graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo just after the turn of this century and majored in agricultural business with an emphasis on wine marketing. His academic endeavors lend great credence to what he has been taught his entire life.
“When your family has been in a business for so many generations,” Andy related, “certain aspects of the business filter down without ever being spoken. You learn from the family in a way that simply cannot be taught. My grandfather as an incredible person, and everyone who ever met him thought he was his best friend.”
While the winery’s finest wine, Miriam, comes from Napa Valley, the emphasis these days is more towards Sonoma Valley and its myriad of fruit choices.
“Miriam was named after my grandmother after she died,” Perelli-Minetti continued. “They had been married more than 70 years. It was my grandfather’s tribute to her memory and he wanted the very best to be in the bottle. Its source will never change nor will anything else about the wine. It will always be made with 100% new French oak and will only be available in very small lots.”
Andrew Peretti-Minelli has also decided to stick with the old school labeling that his father began decades ago as a tribute to his father’s memory. “It’s what our customers are used to,” he explained further. “Why change something that has worked for many years?”
Mario Perelli-Minetti Winery releases are only available in California, Florida, Georgia and Texas. Internationally, the wines can be found in both Canada and the Republic of South Korea.
It is always neat to see a winery reborn before our very eyes. Such is the case with Andrew Perelli-Minetti at the winery his grandfather founded. He refers to his calling as a “passion", rather than a labor of love. It is something I was destined to do and I know that people will judge me by what I accomplish. It is my desire to grow our winery slowly and keep the cost of production under control. In that way, I will be able to continue to purchase the finest grapes available and hopefully make wines that still have a great price/value relationship.”
The addition of new winemaker Jim Mann (Luna Vineyards) will aid in Perelli-Minetti’s pursuit of greatness for his company. It is only with people like Andy that the California wine industry will continue to improve as it has.
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
It is truly an honor to present Mario Perelli-Minetti Wines, 2005 Miriam Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon in the Gold Medal Wine Club Platinum Wine Club members. As a small family winemaker in Northern California, I spend most of my time hiding out in the vineyards, wineries and restaurants of Napa Valley and the greater Bay Area, and while it would be my pleasure to meet all of Gold Medal Wine Club’s distinguished Platinum Wine Club members in person, it’s unfortunately not possible. This is an amazing opportunity for my family to showcase our boutique style wine and centuries of winemaking tradition.
To give you a little background about our winemaking process, one of the reasons Mario Perelli-Minetti makes such great wine is the personal attention and care taken at a small winery. Our barrel room is small and closely maintained; only one specialized wine worker will have his hands in the proverbial almighty French oak barrel. This guarantees tremendous cleanliness and discipline in the winery. Clean wine is happy wine!
With all due respect given to myself as a winemaker and business man, anyone can do what I do. It’s the grape grower who deserves all the credit. It’s how well the fruit can develop in the vineyard, it’s how well the vines absorb sunshine, it’s how well the soils can dance with the rootstalks…As a “California Wine Pioneer” (a title given to him by The Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation) my great grandfather Antonio Perelli-Minetti, son of a winemaker and graduate of the school of enology in Conegliano, Italy, came to California in 1902. He was always in the vineyards – every picture I have of him is in a vineyard or wine laboratory, and he knew the grapes were ready to make wine by sight, smell and taste. My great grandfather Antonio and grandfather Mario were true artists in the winemaking process. Today, 111 years later at Mario Perelli-Minetti Wines, we try and perpetuate the same characteristics of winemaking. “Wine is made in the vineyard.”
Please enjoy this special wine. Thank you,