As a young boy, Ron Donati grew up in South San Francisco, the son of a first generation Italian-American family. One of his fondest memories was the sights and smells of his grandfather making wine in his basement.
I can relate to that because my Dad is right off the boat from Italy, and my Mom from Brazil. Like most Italian immigrants, Albino Donati made his own wine for the family dinner table.
As an adult, Ron became a successful entrepreneur with a penchant for making quality products that were attainable to all, not just a select few.
This same passion serves as the foundation and guiding mission of Donati Family Vineyard today. These guys make some pretty stellar wine at prices way below where they should be. A lot of that has to do with the fact that they’re not from Napa or Sonoma.
The Donati family hails from Paicines Wine Country, in the center of coastal California, a little over an hour from San Jose to the north and Monterey to the west. Years after the early Mission vineyard plantings were long abandoned, the Paicines growing region was rediscovered 35-40 years ago by Almaden (one of the many not-so-great jug wine producers of the early 80’s, ew!) . It was again deserted as a bulk brand growing region for more lucrative areas, and is now being reclaimed, this time as a high-end grape growing region.
Donati Family Vineyard is the only brand located in the Paicines appellation, although there are approximately five other vineyards located in the appellation, growing primarily Bordeaux varieties. Neighboring appellations are home to Calera Wine Company, Chalone Vineyard, Leal Vineyards and DeRose Vineyards.
The quaint town of Paicines, population 204, consists of a country store, restaurant, and post office – all in one convenient building. Sounds like the Donati’s have a lot of time on their hands… maybe that’s why they’re making such great wine?!
FranksWine carries a variety of reds and whites from the Donati Vineyard.