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Mignanelli Family Wines

Santa Cruz Mountains AVA


Quality and Plaudits have made this Sonoma County producer one of the country's finest for this tantalizing yet temperamental grape.

Byron Mignanelli (pronounced Mig-nah-nell-ee) is not your usual owner/winemaker and he's quite proud of the fact that his competitors single him out.

"Some of them even call me a maverick," commented the 41 year-old who bases his smallish operation in Sonoma County. "Many winemakers have been taught by the book and are surprised when their wines turn out to be ordinary. I am 100% self-taught and am totally proud of that fact."

Mignanelli Family Winery saw the light of day back in 2011 with a tiny release of only 75 cases. The initial offering sold out quickly and Byron Mignanelli was off to the races.

"I started all this as a hobby due to my interest in farming and fermentation. I even made breads and other things that required fermentation. The wine aspect was a natural since I had been allowed to drink wine with my family from a young age, something quite usual within an Italian family. It gave me an early appreciation of the great grape."

Today's Mignanelli Family Winery produces around 1,100 cases annually, but has gone as high has 1,800 when the yields have provided superior fruit.

From the beginning, Byron Mignanelli has only produced two varietals - Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. "There is so much nuance in the Pinot Noir that I couldn't see myself working on any other varietal," he added. "Chardonnay is the Pinot Noir's cousin, so the decision to add it was easy."

Mignanelli Family Winery specializes in small-lot production from a number of selected growers from areas that grow the finest grapes. "The Pinot Noir fruit showcases the soils in which it was grown better than any other varietal - at least in my opinion," Mignanelli went on. "No two Pinots are the same due to differing soils and climates. That's why they are so difficult to make. Since I neither fine nor filter any of my wines, I feel I am able to showcase each growing area to its fullest."

Byron Mignanelli says his greatest takeaway from the wine business is pleasing his customers. "When someone tastes one of my wines and says, 'Wow, this is great and I've never even heard of you,' well, that really lights me up. It's truly gratifying and inspires me to do even better. It's definitely one of the high points of this most difficult business."

Mignanelli Family Winery has always done well in competitions and has scored high numbers in industry periodicals. This is particularly gratifying to its owner, who is basically a one-person operator. "I even drive the trucks when we gather the grapes during harvest," informed Mignanelli. "I see the process through from beginning to end. If all turns out great, I'm happy; if not, it's all on me."

Byron Mignanelli's wife Kara helps out with the company's books and compliance, the only outside help he receives.

Mignanelli Family Winery is an important boutique operation that has defied the odds and proven to be successful for almost a decade. Its wines have earned a reputation for aging well, a fact not always associated with Pinot Noirs in general.

"My wines mirror my personality," the spirited owner/winemaker finalized. "I think my wines are quite unique and the following we have developed tends to agree with me."

This month's Pinot Noir selection is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a wine not usually available due to its small lot production. We are pleased to introduce Mignanelli Family Winery to our Pinot Noir Wine Club members and know that you will truly enjoy this masterful wine.