Napa Valley AVA
Filled with a sense of adventure - perfectly 'pono'
To all Hawaiians, pono is a way of life. It’s also a commitment to leaving all things in a better place than when first encountered and additionally, pono is understanding and appreciating that life can be both simple and complex.
Dave Sedeno is a native Hawaiian (from the big island of Oahu) who has pursued a career in the wine industry on a part-time basis for more than two decades. During that time, he worked with numerous wineries and winemakers and developed a deep passion for the grand grape phenomenon. He credits such luminaries as Norm Kiken of the much-admired Reverie Winery and Vineyard on Diamond Mountain (Napa Valley) and Steve Reynolds of the Reynolds Family Winery (also Napa Valley) as mentors throughout his career.
After an occupation as a firefighter (shades of Cecil DeLoach) that spanned some thirty-four long years, Sedeno decided a change of lifestyle was in store. He had formerly worked part time in wine sales and marketing and the wine industry beckoned to him. “I know it’s a crazy business,” he related, “but, it offers a sense of adventure for those involved. I guess I just love the experience.”
A number of years ago, Dave Sedeno met Winemaker Grant Long, Jr., and the two developed a lasting friendship that culminated in the development of Pono Wines in 2012.
“I had absolutely no aspiration about getting into the business on the winery side,” confessed Sedeno. “The fact is, that I first met Grant when he was associated with Reverie. We had lost contact for a while, but I found him again, and we met for lunch. In less than an hour, he had convinced me that I should start Pono Wines and have him make all the wines.”
The company’s first releases were in 2012, a minute 50 cases each of a Red and White Blend. Customer and industry support and praise helped Pono Wines become entirely successful. The annual case production has risen to around 265 cases, but Dave Sedeno is hesitant to expand his production at a swifter rate. “I think I know this business after way more than twenty years,” he explained. “I know how it works. When you source your grapes, you must be incredibly selective and I adhere to that philosophy.”
Sedeno also points to his Hawaiian background and the attitude it embodies. “Back home, we learn to take things as they come and not to stress over those things that you cannot control. I know when the timing is right and the fruit is exceptional, Grant will be able to help us get to the next level.”
Winemaker Grant Long, Jr., is more than just a friend to Sedeno. A long-time resident of the Napa Valley, Long must be considered an insider when it comes to locating desirable fruit and making wines for Pono Wines. His own winery, Aonair Wines, was founded in 2008 and has collected a sizable number of high scores and awards for his wine portfolio. He is a true artisan in the winemaking field of endeavor and believes that mass-production is better suited for other industries, not winemaking.
Pono Wines has taken a giant step and opened a tasting facility in downtown Napa City. “We are partnering with Kitchen Collective, an urban cooking club that opened in 2016. Such clubs already exist in Europe, but this is a first in America. The idea is to be able to pair wine and food correctly and Kitchen Collective’s staff really knows its business.” In this interactive tasting experience, the staff works with visitors to choose from the finest organic, locally sourced farm-to-fork fare to create a truly personalized tasting. Then, visitors are invited to watch, or put on an apron and join the CIA-trained chefs to prepare the personally curated menu. Guests can relax in a private dining space and enjoy the fruits of their labor, paired with Pono’s highly-rated, small-production wines.
Stories like Pono Wines are feel-good accounts of hard working people taking a chance on starting a business that they truly love. Dave Sedeno’s second career will probably be his most recognized since firefighting provides many heroes, but few celebrities. Pono Wines is a true labor of love that is totally liquid in nature, but definitely implanted when considering both dedication and heart.
We are delighted to feature Dave Sedeno and his marvelous Pono 2018 “Aina” Pinot Noir from Napa Valley. We know our Platinum Wine Club members will enjoy it to its fullest!
Aloha Platinum Wine Club Members,
I am proud to share the 2018 Aina Pinot Noir from Pono Wines. Aina is the fruit of my collaboration with renowned Pinot Noir winemaker, Erich Bradley. Aina Pinot Noir is from the historical Ferrington Vineyard. The fruit from the Ferrington Vineyard is coveted amongst the vintages of California’s most famous Pinot Noir makers. These vines are at the furthest point of the Anderson Valley, lovingly blanketed by coastal fog yet perfectly kissed by sunlight to develop the Pinot grapes. Aina (pronounced “I”Na), in Hawaiian, appropriately means “from the land.”
The Pono Story -
Living Pono” To Hawaiians, Pono is a way of life; an endless calling to leave things better than we find them, to seek balance and connection - this is what Hawaiians call ‘living Pono.’ Each bottle tells the story of our deep roots to the ancient Hawaiians, symbolized by the fish hook, a “Makua,” the universal symbol of good fortune from island cultures.
Pono Wines is the serendipitous evolution of my journey in the wine industry over the past two decades. In my native Hawaii, I chose to serve my Country first in the United States Air Force, then in my Northern California community as a career firefighter. Over my 35-year firefighting career, I built a successful wine brokerage, presenting wines from the best and brightest winemakers that Napa and Sonoma have to offer.
Over the years, I forged friendships and collaborations that led to the creation of Pono Wines. Inspired by my Hawaiian roots, I created the wines of Pono to invoke a connection to the spirit of the land, captured in the art of winemaking. My mission is to make wines that reflect the spirit of Pono: richly structured and sourced from the finest grapes in Napa Valley.
Enjoy the Aina Pinot Noir, celebrate the land, and live Pono.
Proprietor, Pono Wines of Napa Valley
Aloha Platinum Wine Club Members,
It is our honor to share the 2013 “Hapa” Red Blend with you. Our name, Pono in Hawaiian means balance, a connection to the land, leaving something better than you found it, and it is in this spirit that we create our wines. The symmetry of the island language is complex in its simplicity; it symbolizes our approach to winemaking, the relentless pursuit of perfection and harmony. To create “Hapa”, which translates to “mixed”, we searched the Napa Valley for the best grapes from small growers and combined them into a sensual blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Like the island that wraps around each bottle of Pono, savoring our wines is an adventure of flavors, textures and aromas.
Wine making in the Napa Valley shares many characteristics with growing up in the islands; they both inspire an appreciation for the rich variety created by dramatic differences in terrain, soil and climate. Wine has embodied this diversity across history and cultures. This is why we place the hook or Makua, as it is know in island cultures, on each bottle of Pono wines to represent life, abundance and the sharing of good fortune with others.
The coordinates under the Pono name will take you to Iolani Palace. It is a nod to the voyager spirit of my elders, including my grandmother who as a playmate of the last princess sailed the ocean by schooner to England. This is the history of discovery and adventure that inspires Pono wines. We are proud that our first vintage of 50 cases quickly sold out; with our second vintage we produced 100 cases to share with old friends, and now with you our new friends of Pono wines.