Salvestrin is more of a typical family-owned winery than either Hooper Creek Winery or William Hill Estate, the two previous family-owned wineries we have reviewed on the Napa Valley Wine Blog. Since 1932, the Salvestrin family has been in the business of growing grapes and selling them to nearby wineries from their St. Helena property. Rich Salvestrin, a third-generation family member, decided it was due time that the family begin making wine from their fabulous vineyards that were winning awards for their client wineries. Rich enrolled in the Fresno State University wine program and, shortly after completion of his studies, began making Salvestrin wine. The first vintage was released in 1994.
Rich Salvestrin does just about everything around the winery including farming the vineyards, making the wine, and doing PR when time allows. Rich’s wife Shannon does much of the sales and marketing. During our visit, we saw their three daughters arriving home from school and, according to Rich, they also help around the winery from time to time. As we strolled the vineyards with Rich, we quickly learned that the winery and vineyards are more to him than just a business. It is a passion and a commitment to make the best wines possible from their vineyards. He talks about each plot as though it were a member of the family.
We were able to taste four of the wines and a couple of barrel samples. Our two favorite wines were the Sauvignon Blanc and a blend called Retaggio. Thirty percent of the Sauvignon Blanc has been aged in neutral oak and that gives a unique characteristic to this wine. The Rettaggio is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This wine is a delicious and soft wine and a perfect food wine. Salvestrin also produces a Sangiovese that is extremely popular. We were not able to taste this wine, as it is sold out the day it is released and there is a waiting list to buy it.
Salvestrin is located in the town of St. Helena on Highway 29 next to St. Helena High School. The winery is open by appointment only, but if you are interested in visiting traditional family-owned wineries, make sure Salvestrin is on your itinerary.
The Good: Family-owned winery, beautiful setting, delicious Sauvignon Blanc.
The Bad: Sold out of the Sangiovese.