This time of year offers so much inspiration. Leave it to a great family to deck the halls of their home page. I just found this image on the Donati Family Vineyard Website, and it put me right into “my holidaze zone!”

When only the best will do, it should come as no surprise that a decade of hard work would equal meritorious accomplishments, but the Donati family is still humbled by the experience, because they are such down-to-earth people.

When Ron Donati (founder, president, chief executive officer, and chairman of Zycon) sold his electronics firm in 1997, it was to slow life down a bit and get back to basics. A decade later, Ron Donati, with the same passionate mentality of “anything worth doing is worth doing well,” is solidly on his way to another illustrious career as a vintner. In this particular venture, his son Matt Donati is his partner, and the future looks very bright for many Donati generations to come.

Ron Donati is a second generation Italian-American, recalling his earliest wine experiences at the family dinner table. “My father and grandfather always had wine with dinner. When I was in my early teens, they’d mix it with about 70 percent water, and serve it to us at Sunday dinners and on special occasions,” he recalls.

With wine being such an innate part of one’s culture, it makes perfect sense to eventually return to those roots. Additionally, with farming usually being framed as a family endeavor, partnering with one of his three sons was a component of this inherent process. Each of Ron’s sons is working in tandem with their father, each in a separate industry. For the wine business, Matt Donati is best suited, and has just naturally become a passionate viticulturist. With 1,000 acres surrounding his home in Paicines, Matt has 400 of those acres planted primarily to Bordeaux varieties.

It’s a rare person who creates a business to provide for his or her own passions, and then makes it completely supportive and inclusive for one’s children. Ron’s one of those exceptional people. And… Ron and Matt’s attention to detail is bearing the glorious fruit of their labor.

2003 DFV Claret Estate Vineyard Paicines: first vintage, SF Chronicle, BEST OF CLASS

2004 DFV Claret Estate Vineyard Paicines: San Francisco Chronicle, GOLD

2003 DFV Meritage Vineyard Paicines: San Francisco Chronicle, BEST OF CLASS, DOUBLE GOLD

I’m well aware that everyone has his/her own palate, so I won’t presume to make you believe that now all is written in stone about these wines. It’s critically important that the integrity of your own palate be recognized, and what’s good for the goose may not be good for the gander… So, when you’re out taking a gander at what wine you should try, perhaps you’ll stumble upon a bottle of Donati and perhaps discover how juicy these wines actually are. They’ll be welcome wines on any holiday table.
Melanie’s reviewed a few Donati Family Vineyard wines. A search on this site will bring them up. She’s also recommended food items to go with them. You’ll find them to be diverse suggestions and all pretty luscious! Bon Appetite!