Get the Dirt about Bellante Family Winery from Chuck Bellante

2 Jul

BellanteCorks1. What was your first vintage year? 2000

2. How many cases do you make per vintage? 1,500

3. Do you have a Tasting Room? Yes! We are open Friday from 5-9pm; Saturday from Noon-9pm and Sunday Noon-4pm.

4. What wine made you want to become a winemaker/start your own winery? I started making wine on a dare and it stuck.

5. What varietals do you work with? Viognier, Pinot Noir, and Rhone Reds. Which varietal/wine is your favorite to make? Why? Wow, I love all my wines so I’m not sure I have a favorite. But, I did start with Syrahs, so they are very near and dear to me.

BellanteVineyard6. What vineyards do you source from? All our fruit comes from Santa Barbara County. We currently source from every AVA and sub-AVA in Santa Barbara. I only source from the very best vineyards because without good fruit you cannot make good wine. Vineyards include: Dierberg, Santa Maria; Shokrian, Los Alamos Valley; Watch Hill, Los Alamos Valley; Jack McGinley, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara; Tierra Alta, Ballard Canyon; Camp 4, Los Olivos District; La Encantada, Sta. Rita Hills; Bentrock, Sta. Rita Hills and Radian, Sta. Rita Hills

7. What type of oak treatment do you use? Why? I prefer French oak from Allier with a medium plus toast. I find these barrels give the wines a nice smokiness and vanilla component. I typically use about 20% new on the Viogniers, 40% on the Rhone Reds, and 50% on the Pinot Noirs.

8. What do you love about your winemaking region? What makes it different special? Santa Barbara County makes some the most beautiful cool climate wines in the world. The unique orientation of the mountain ranges along the Santa Ynez Valley channel cool ocean air throughout the valley leaving the grapes with good acidity and a freshness that’s hard to find in other locations.

BellanteDierberg Front9. What’s the story behind your winery name / label? The “Bellante” banner was first created by my Grandfather in 1925 when he founded Charles Bellante Realty Company.

10. What’s so great about being small? What can you do as a small winemaker, that wouldn’t be possible for larger wineries? With a Chemical Process Engineering background size is not really an issue. As Robert Mondavi liked to say, “you can make quality wine in any amount”. However, being small allows me to personally monitor and play with every barrel. Something that I couldn’t do due to time restraints if we were larger.

11. How do you view the future in the wine industry for small-lot winemakers? As long as there are wine drinkers who appreciate the art of small-lot wineries, we will continue to make wine. The trick is reaching those individuals with the limited resources of a small winery. That’s why Garagiste is so important!

12. If you had to choose another wine region to work in what would it be? Assuming there are no limitations and you could simply pick up and go to another country, I’d like to give Barolo and Barbaresco a shot. I think the Nebbiolo grape can do some amazing things.

For more information about Bellante Family Winery, please visit their website or follow them on FACEBOOK.

Comments are closed.