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San Rucci Winery


"We wanted to make wines in the Italian style that generations have sworn by"

Bill and Anthony Merz spent many years as winemakers for large wineries in California’s Central Valley before deciding to form San Rucci Winery a short while ago.

“We are from an Italian family and have always made wine on the side for our family and friends,” informed Anthony Merz, 32. “At one point we decided to take the chance and make some of the wines our families and friends enjoyed. We wanted to make wines in the Italian style that generations have sworn by.”

Bill Merz graduated in Enology from Fresno State in the mid-1980’s and worked for a host of wineries including Capello Winery and The Wine Group. He began teaching his son, Anthony to make wine when he was a toddler and was delighted when Anthony spent some seven years with the formidable E.J. Gallo complex in Modesto.

“Making large amounts of wine was fine,” continued Anthony Merz, “but we wanted to attempt to produce some small lots with distinctive features. We knew of the Cabernet Franc’s relationship to a number of Super Tuscan wines and that became our goal. We made the wine in a style that we both enjoyed and left it up to the public to decide on its merits.”

San Rucci Winery produces a microscopic 200 cases per year and this month’s Garagiste Wine Club feature is the first wine the company released in 2019. “We will add a Rosé and sparkling wine sometime this year to our portfolio, but our aim is to stay small and produce incredible wines,” Merz added.

The San Rucci Winery label was designed by an Australian artist and focuses on an antique wine press that has been prevalent and served the family’s needs for many decades. “Everything we do revolves around our heritage,” Anthony Merz continued. “We hope our customers and friends enjoy our wines as much as we do.”

The fruit for the Cabernet Franc was actually grown in dry, desert-like terrain about 30 miles east of Oceanside. “We were alerted to this vineyard by a mutual friend who worked in the San Diego area. The Cabernet Franc vines thrived in this environment and produced grapes with intense, concentrated flavors we knew would be perfect for our wine. Given the varietal’s close association with a number of Super Tuscans, my Dad and I figured we were onto something special,” he finalized.

It is a great pleasure to introduce our Garagiste members to this remarkable wine and its colorful owners and winemakers. Enjoy!