Thursday, November 12, 2009

Green Acres Ranch is the place for me

Halloween has just passed but you would be hard pressed to find many traces of the remaining fall season and the still to come Thanksgiving. The stores have already decked the halls, Digital Music is playing holiday music but I’m still looking at pumpkins.

Since I’m in no hurry to rush through the season, think I’ll linger awhile in the present with a bottle of Green Acres Zinfandel. Colors in the glass are dark red with purple hues. The aromas burst of oak, black pepper and spice. The flavors are smooth and well balanced with plums, raspberry, black pepper with easy, pronounced tannins. As I read the label, I realize I just read about the wine’s makers, the Sebastiani family, today in Wine Spectator.

The winery was founded by Samuel Sebastiani who left Northern Italy in 1895 at the age of 21 and set off for America arriving first in New York and making his way to California. Green Acres Ranch is located in Lodi, CA and was originally used as an aviary. Samuel established the winery in 1904 and began selling wine door-to-door for a nickel a ladle.

Shockwaves rocked the wine community last December when the family announced the winery had been sold. The winery is among the oldest wineries in continuous operation in California making the news of the sale even more stunning. Seems none of the Sebastiani heirs wanted to continue in the business and none of the other family members wanted in, or they were unable to buy out the heirs out. Some of the wineries better known wines, Vendange and Talus had already been sold in 2000.

Since the death of their father, August Sebastiani, siblings Don, Sam and Mary Ann have each had their turn at running the winery. A much publicized squabble ousted Sam from the helm and Don stepped in but later stepped down allowing Mary Ann to take control. The family concedes they did not want to let the family business go but this does give family members the opportunity to redirect their focuses.

The sale went to William Foley Wine Group who has added the acquisition to his collection of wineries. It saddens me to hear of so many California wineries being sold to either big conglomerates or individuals to put another feather in their cap. Unfortunately it seems to be a trend as wine maker’s age, economic shifts affect sales and a multitude of other reasons that I think will be saved for another article.

I recommend grabbing a couple of bottles of Green Acres Ranch while you can. I found this at a local wine & liquor store for $7.99. Check local stores to see if they carry.

2009© Kellie Stargaard. All Rights Reserved.

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