Pellegrini Wine Company
Russian River Valley AVA
Producing a plethora of award-winning wines and scores
In the ever-changing scramble that is today’s modern California wine industry, it is refreshing to be able to feature a wine entity that is almost eighty years old. Such is the case with Sonoma’s Pellegrini Wine Company whose origins trace back to 1925, when founders Nello and Gino Pellegrini brought their Tuscan heritage to Northern California. In 1933, the brothers established the Pellegrini Wine Company and became grape merchants. Grapes were shipped to home winemakers across the country after the repeal of Prohibition. For the next three-plus decades, the Pellegrini Wine Company grew and prospered.
In 1973, Vincent (Nello’s son) Pellegrini and his wife Aida purchased a 70-acre apple and plum orchard just west of Santa Rosa in the Russian River Valley. With incredible foresight and planning, two Burgundian varietals, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, were planted in 1975. The ensuing fruit became one of the primary sources of highest quality fruit in California. The likes of iconic Williams Selyem Winery, Merry Edwards Winery, Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery and Darioush Winery were customers of Vincent’s son Robert Pellegrini who had taken charge of the vineyards and winery.
“My grandfather inspired me to open a family winery,” Pellegrini recently recalled. “I had also traveled through Burgundy and had some sort of epiphany about Burgundian wines while I was in Beaune. I knew right then what I had to do.”
Pellegrini decided to name the vineyard property Olivet Lane Estate after a grove of old olive trees that line the vineyard’s east entrance. The first release of wines came in 1977, roughly 2,000 cases of mixed estate and sourced wines. The Pinot Noir explosion had not yet materialized but the wines were considered to be of elevated quality and the public reception was exceptional.
For the past four decades, Robert Pellegrini, 68, has farmed the incredible soils of the Russian River Estate he owns. The third generation wine veteran has watched his beloved Pinot Noir become accepted and praised by the hierarchy of the wine world, much to his personal delight.
“When we started out, Chardonnay was already accepted as a premier varietal but Pinot Noir was completely different. We stuck with our original plans and now our Estate Chardonnay and Estate Pinot Noir are among the best wines produced in California,” he added.
Pellegrini places his winery’s annual production at around 10,000 cases and sees little growth for the future.
“The wine business is different now from where it was three or four decades ago. Our company used to make negotiant wines for many customers and even reached the million case mark on several occasions. Today, everything is specialized. The customers are better informed and know their wines and their growing areas. Estate bottled wines that reflect the terroir of the area in which they are grown are the really trendy wines to produce and that fact is good for the entire industry.”
Pellegrini is also extremely proud of his estate vineyard. He continues to sell some of his prized grapes to his long-term winery customers who have also produced a plethora of award-winning wines and scores.
“It’s all about the placement of the Olivet Lane Vineyard,” he informed. “The maritime fog influence of winds sweeping through the Petaluma Gap to the south of us makes it all happen. We have undulating bench lands with well-drained clay-loam soil that is quite gravelly. The fog tends to linger and causes a cool, white blanket from evening through morning. That allows the fruit to ripen slowly and reach its full flavor potential while retaining its natural acidity. The wines are elegant yet are able to age after bottling.”
Pellegrini is joined by Winemaker Lynn Krausmann who brings a resolute winery resume to the table. Krausmann is a UC Davis grad who has been making wines for more than three decades. She can list stints at the likes of Freemark Abbey Winery, Clos du Bois Wines, Robert Mondavi Winery and Esterlina Vineyards. Her most rewarding (in terms of success) position would probably be as winemaker with Williams Selyem Winery, arguably the premier producer of Pinot Noir in California.
Robert Pellegrini is also quite proud of the fourth generation of his family in the wine business. Daughter Alexia, 36, is the chief of operations for Pellegrini Wine Company and daughter Laura, 39, is a graphic designer that has produced all the company’s artwork and labels.
Pellegrini Wine Company is a venerable wine institution. We are happy to introduce their great wines to our Platinum Wine Club members.
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
I am pleased to present our Olivet Lane Vineyard, estate bottled, Chardonnay.
Olivet Lane was planted by my family in 1975 and has, over the years, been the source of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for the Pellegrini Wine Company and to some of Russian River Valley’s most respected winemakers. Originally planted to a selection of Wente clone, these venerable old vines, for the most part, are over forty years old. Yields are naturally low, but the highly prized fruit is capable of producing wines of exceptional depth and character. For these reasons, Olivet Lane is considered one of the region’s most iconic heritage vineyard sites.
This 2013 vintage, made under the direction of our winemaker, Lynn Krausmann, exhibits seamless balance, elegance and nuance. It is a classic example of Russian River Valley Chardonnay with fine sensory elements and a structure that will reward additional bottle age.
Above all, I hope you enjoy this Chardonnay as a complement to a most enjoyable dining experience, now or in the future.
President & CEO