Recent accolades for Sarzotti wines
- 2013 San Diego County Fair Wine Competition: Bronze – 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Reserve; Silver – 2007 Syrah
- 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition: Bronze – 2007 Vine Tavola
Family-owned boutique features award-winning wines
Sarzotti Vineyard & Winery, a small family-owned and operated venture set off El Pomar on the east side of Templeton not far from Highway 41, produces 1,200 cases a year, 100 cases per varietal. As a complete family operation, it is owned by Jim and Cheryl Sarzotti along with their son and daughter-in-law, James and Jenne Sarzotti.
The Sarzottis have been growing grapes for 16 years on their west Templeton property. When visitors stop by the tasting room, located at 180 Bella Ranch Road, they will always be greeted by a family member.
“It’s very family orientated here – we believe everyone should be treated like [family],” said Jim, a third generation Italian American who shares winemaking duties with son James. “We favor our wines and want everyone to try them.”
Jim said Sarzotti wines are “made the old-fashioned way here – hands-on.”
Family owned & operated
Cheryl added that even after the wine is made, the family does the bottling, labeling and serving, so they have a hand in every step of the process – literally. Though bottles of Sarzotti’s wines all feature the same photo of an oak tree on the labels, each is a different color.
“When I make the wine I have some idea in my mind what color the label should be,” Jim said.
The winery doesn’t have any specialty or flagship wine, rather, Jim said he will make wine with whatever grapes he can get his hands on.
“I like to mix it up,” he said. “I’m making a GSM for next year.”
No tasting fees
Sarzotti is one of the last wineries to not charge a tasting fee, which tends to range from $5 to $15 in the Paso Robles area. The wines range in price from $18 to $38 for the general public.
“We find that even though we don’t charge a tasting fee [that] people still purchase a bottle or two,” Jim said. “We rarely have someone not buy bottle of wine.”
Savor the passion
Jim’s family grew grapes in the Rancho Cucamonga area from the 1940s to the ’80s. But his family decided to move up to the Paso Robles area because “it’s about the only place you can grow grapes in California anymore.”
He said he loves the area because it reminds him of the rolling hills of Tuscany – where his family is from – and “the soil is amazing.”
“Savor the passion, drink to life,” says Jim, adding that he makes wine because it is a passion of his. “I just love it.”
Visit Sarzotti Vineyard & Winery, located at 180 Bella Ranch Road off of El Pomar, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday and Monday through Wednesday by appointment. Call (805) 226-2022 or go to sarzottiwinery.com for more information and news on upcoming events.
– Heather Young