Stolo Family Vineyards & Winery
Central Coast AVA
A highly prized winery with an extremely bright future
The widely-acclaimed Stolo Family Vineyards has special affection for the large plantings of Pinot Noir grapes on its 23 assorted acres that encompass the great Burgundian varietal.
“Our property is located in a coastal site that was just begging for Pinot Noir,” informed Maria Stolo Bennetti, the general manager of the business that is centered in the town of Cambria on California’s Central Coast. “We actually had some Pinot Noir vines in place when we first acquired the property in 1998. We believed in the future of the great grape and actually expanded our acreage some ten years later.”
Bennetti further explained that the new plantings were part of the family’s Creekside Estate Vineyard and involved newer clones of the varietal. “We wanted to see just how each reacted to the terroir and wanted to compare the new fruit to that from our existing plants. It was a joint decision between our Vineyard Manager Luke Pope, our Winemaker Nicole Bertotti Pope (yes, they are married) and our family. We have been delighted with the results we have experienced since the plantings.”
For the record, the Creekside Vineyard Pinot Noir fruit will bear its seventh crop this year, and Maria Bennetti feels the fruit gets better each year. “Each year the plants mature themselves even further and the fruit develops more intensity,” she continued. “They (the vines) are growing into themselves and produce a fruit style that is definitely Burgundian in feel and light in acidity. The terroir tends to show through after vinification and that’s our ultimate goal—terroir-driven wines from our estate vineyards.”
Stolo Family Vineyards came to life more than two decades ago when Maria’s parents, Don and Charlene Stolo, sought a retirement site along the Central Coast. Children of Italian immigrants, they had been brought up around wine and sought the advice of experts about the possibility of founding a winery. When these experts gave the go ahead, the Stolos entered the wine business.
Today, Stolo Family Vineyards produces around 2,000 cases annually and hopes to reach the 5 – 10,000 case level during the next decade. The company is in no hurry and lets the market decide its growth rate.
Some extremely high scores and numerous plaudits from wine industry periodicals make this future goal seem more than reasonable. We salute Stolo Family Vineyards and their prized estate Pinot Noir. We are certain there will be even more awards and distinctions in the future. Enjoy!
Nicole Bertotti Pope - Winemaker
Nicole Bertotti Pope joined Stolo Family Vineyards in 2010, two years after her husband Luke took over vineyard management of the Central Coast winery. She holds a BS in Biological Sciences from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and formerly worked at Talley Vineyards in Arroyo Grande as an assistant winemaker. Priorly, she held an Enologist position at Domaine Carneros in Napa Valley where she learned about producing cool climate Pinot Noir and sparkling wines.
Along with her husband Luke, the couple has worked and traveled extensively in Australia and South Africa’s wine regions and developed an extensive knowledge of grape growing and winemaking from their international counterparts. Nicole embraces the challenges of the Pinot Noir varietal and firmly believes that she allows the grapes and resulting terroir at Stolo Family Vineyards to express her winemaking skills rather than her laboratory proficiencies.