Two New Small Family Owned Wineries for The Grape Underground in 2021.

I am constantly searching for unique small production wineries to showcase at The Grape Underground’s wine dinners and tasting events in San Diego. I have recently started working with Metrick Wines in Santa Barbara and Zichichi Family Vineyards in Sonoma.

I have been enjoying Zichichi Family Vineyard since my first visit in 2014. I visit Zichichi and barrel taste every time I'm in Sonoma. Zichichi wines are super limited and are only available by purchasing futures, so you can imagine how excited I am to incorporate them into my event portfolio.

I first came upon Metrick Wines in November 2020, on a recommendation from a friend who is a winemaker in Santa Barbara. Upon trying Metrick, I was instantly struck by the freshness and terroir driven nature of the wines.

Here is a short bio on Metrick and Zichichi, which will both be used in The Grape Underground events in 2021. I’m certain you will find these wines compelling and of the highest quality.

Metrick Wines:

Winemaker: Alex Russan

Website: www.metrickwines.com

These wines have a theme, and it is stripped down, elegant, terroir driven wines that showcase a specific place and time. Winemaker Alex Russan’s goal is to make wines that most accurately represent the vineyard they come from. This concept is something that many winemakers around the world embrace. Alex doesn’t own a vineyard. He sources grapes from incredible vineyards in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties. The experience you get drinking wines made in this style is completely different than buying a big-name wine from the grocery store that can be made from grapes sourced all over California. Because Alex focuses on one vineyard site per grape variety, he can tell a story about a place to every consumer.

Alex is constantly testing new winemaking techniques in order to best translate the vineyard site into the bottle you drink. All fermentations are started naturally and Alex only adds minimal SO2 (Sulfur Dioxide) if the P.H. levels are so high that the wine lacks microbially stability. My personal favorites from Metrick are the Albarino, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir!

Zichichi Family Vineyards:

Winemaker: Michael Moore

Website: www.zichichifamilyvineyard.com/

Zichichi Family Vineyard is located in the Dry Creek Valley AVA and was purchased by the Zichichi Family in 2000. The original Zinfandel and Petite Sirah vines on the property were planted in 1920 on St. George root stock. The gradual sloping hillside vineyard is head pruned and is planted on gravelly soils. Zichichi produces Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon. All Zichichi wines are aged for 20 months in French and American oak, then blended to create the perfect balance. Michael Moore has been the Zichichi Family’s winemaker since 2007. His experience and winemaking style help to create wonderfully complex small batch wines with a silky mouthfeel.

I have been a fan of these incredible and elegant wines since my first experience barrel tasting. I have opened some seven year old bottles of Zichichi Zinfandel and can speak to their aging potential.

by Josh Neimeyer
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