The Sebastiani family own one of the longest-established wineries in California. It was founded in 1904, and survived both Prohibition and the Great Depression to remain at the forefront of Sonoma county winemaking. A century’s history seems not to have dented the company’s dynamism: it is one of the top hundred on-trade brands in the US and is growing sales substantially ahead of the market.
The reason is consistently high quality coupled to sensible pricing. Over the last hundred years, the family have built up considerable vineyard holdings, allowing them to control the quality of their fruit while at the same time avoiding fluctuations in the price of grapes. The winemaker, Mark Lyon, has been with Sebastiani since 1979, so brings an intimate knowledge of the region and how best to express it in the bottle, with clarity of fruit, generosity of structure and sensitive use of oak. His loyalty has recently been rewarded: the day before the 2006 harvest, work was completed on a brand new winery which will allow even gentler handling of the grapes and more precise control over the vinification. We can therefore expect Mark to push quality still higher as Sebastiani’s second century unfolds.