Ed and Adam Sbragia, founder and winemaker of Sbragia Family Vineyards, are guests of Steve Jaxon and Dan Berger on California Wine Country today. They have an estate winery in Geyserville and a tasting lounge in downtown Sonoma. Ed Sbragia was the winemaster at Beringer. They allowed him to start his brand while still working there, so he started in 2001. Adam joined him in 2003. Adam learned winemaking from his father and the family all works together.
Dry Creek Valley
His neighbors in the Dry Creek Valley are making extraordinary wine, says Dan Berger. The Sbragia family acquired their property in 2006. It is the old Lake Sonoma Winery which was owned by Gary Heck. It is the last winery at the end of the road, in the higher, hotter part of Dry Creek Valley. They are growing Zinfandel, Carignane, Petit Syrah, also some Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Ed liked, and adopted, the Italian way of making white, without a lot of racking, making clean wine and keeping the barrels full.
They remember Myron Nightingale, who graduated in 1941 from the Viticulture and Enology program of University of California, which at the time was located at Berkeley, before Davis was founded. Louis Martini and Charlie Crawford, head of Gallo, were also in that class. Myron was as influential as André Tchelistcheff. He took over as winemaker at Beringer in 1971 and took it to great success.
Adam Sbragia’s Path to Winemaking
Adam Sbragia was in the wine business even before the family winery began. Growing up in Healdsburg and with his family in wine, it is easy to get exposure to all aspects of the art, science and business. His grandfather was a grower who came from Italy in the 1920s and bought the land in Dry Creek Valley that the family still owns. Growing up he was either in the winery with his dad or in the vineyard with his grandfather. He was never forced to work at it. He got admitted to UC Davis and to UCLA and chose to go to LA to pursue acting too. But he came back and started working in wine in the early 2000s. This was a dream of the family since when his grandfather started a winery in the 1930s that failed in the Depression.
They grow 100% Zinfandel growing on their own estate but they produce about 30% Chardonnay, 30% Cabernet, 20% Zinfandel plus bits of Carignane, Petit Syrah, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé and a Port.
Bottle Barn has plenty of Sbragia wines. Visit Bottle Barn dot com for details on how they are operating now.
The Sbragia family came from the town of Lucca in western Tuscany, 13 miles from the coast.
They tasted the 2019 Redwood Ranch Sauvignon Blanc, which has always been part of their repertoire. It’s stainless steel fermented, very cold, very tropical, easy drinking, nice acid. They also taste two Chardonnays, The Home Ranch and the Gamble Ranch. He explains about the balancing act with malolactic fermentation