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Pinot Gris,PS I Love You,Russian River Valley,Wine,Wine tasting,Winemaker,Winery

Why I Adore the Bacigalupis and John Tyler Wines

John Tyler Wines are located at 4353 Westside Road in Healdsburg, right in the heart of the Russian River Valley. Come taste their vineyard designate wines. Their tasting room is open daily from 10:30-5:00 p.m.

Grand Opening Celebration Event
Saturday, July 30, 2011,  from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.
4353 Westside Road, Healdsburg, CA

KR Catering will be serving delicious small bites paired with their vineyard designate Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. They’ll have tours of their vineyard, including our oldest block of Chardonnay planted in 1964. Growers Charles (the family patriarch) and Helen Bacigalupi will be on hand to sign bottles for guests.

Please RSVP by July 22nd by e-mail tastingroom@johntylerwines.com or call 707-473-0115. We hope to see you there!

This is an event that I’m supporting, because I’ve been connected to the Bacigalupis since I arrived in California.

In 2002, when I began PS I Love You, Helen Bacigalupi was right there as a founding member. What she never knew, during my tenure at Belvedere Winery from 1993 to 1998, was that I pulled into a driveway that abutted the Bacigalupi Vineyard property to get to work. I was very familiar with her name and her location. Belvedere sold a Bacigalupi Pinot, and it was fabulous!

Then, I began the group, and that’s when we met… at the First Petite Sirah Symposium.

Staying in a business for nearly 20 years means that you watch the next generation grow up and – as some do – follow in their parents’ footsteps. It’s taken Nicole, one of the Bacigalupi twins, to tell me more about Charles and Helen Bacigalupi – her grandparents’ – efforts.

For instance, I never knew this great bit of information:

The Bacigalupi Vineyards began to gain prominence when they provided Chardonnay fruit to Chateau Montelena in 1973. This vintage would go on to win the coveted Judgment of Paris tasting in 1976. This event unquestionably changed the way the wine world looked at the California wine industry.

I’m not surprised, and now delighted to know, that that wine started its way to fame in Charles and Helen’s vineyard. Charles and Helen’s son, John, spent his childhood in the family vineyards, and has written a lovely tribute on the family’s Website for John Tyler Wines.

Helen Bacigalupi is a woman after my own heart, and I paid tribute to her on my wine blog, on Mothers Day in 2009.

Now, the grandchildren, as young adults, are stepping into the roles, with their John Tyler Wines new tasting room.

John Tyler Wines – new multigenerational tasting room in Russian River Valley

John Tyler Wines is the result of a partnership between two long time wine making families in the Russian River Valley:

  • Fourth generation wine maker Tyler Heck, grandson of Paul Heck, and late owner of Korbel Champagne Cellars
  • John Bacigalupi grower of the famed Bacigalupi Vineyards on Westside Road.

Since 1956 the Bacigalupi family has been growing grapes for well-known wineries in both Sonoma and Napa Counties. The John Tyler brand sources fruit only from Bacigalupi vineyards, focusing on single vineyard small lot Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Petite Sirah. Guests who visit the tasting room will have the opportunity to taste vintages dating back as far as 2002. This type of tasting experience is distinctive and exemplifies Tyler’s unique wine making style, showcasing wines with more age ability. Third generation family members Nicole and Katey Bacigalupi, John’s twin daughters, manage the tasting room and are always on hand to talk about the family history to tasting room guests.

Nicole sent the following to me:

My family, The Bacigalupi’s, have been growing grapes in Russian River Valley for over 55 years. We are best known for having provided some of the chardonnay fruit to Chateau Montelena that won the 1976 Paris tasting. Also my grandparents were one of the first growers to plant Pinot Noir in the Russian River Valley. Now the third generation of our family is involved in the industry, my twin sister and I do most of the marketing, and my cousin Tyler Heck makes our wine. We have been making wine from our vineyards under a label called John Tyler for the past 9 years.

My family has contributed so much to the history of the Sonoma County wine industry over the past 55 years.

My best wishes to you all, and now I know how you came up with the John Tyler name! (I’ve been wondering about that one…)

You’ve supported PS I Love You over the years, and now I’ve got to get up there and taste your wines… including that Petite!

 

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One Response to “Why I Adore the Bacigalupis and John Tyler Wines”

  1. Sondra says:

    Jo – another connection – Belvedere wines from Bacigalupi vyds were among the first I photographed – their 1982 chardonnay and pinot noir. Decades later when I got back into the photography for an event at the Rudd Estate – once more I visited the beautiful chardonnay from Bacigalupi vyds, this time the 2002 Rudd old vine chard….. the images, to my eye, showed an expression of the vineyard.

    So why did they call the 1976 chardonnay of Paris fame, a Napa wine?

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