Orentano wine… “Like sands through the hour glass, these are the days of our lives.” I write that, because I first thought, “The wife of anyone can so easily be the last on the list for the services of her husband (and vice versa), so many of the times…” You know how our minds start with one thing and bounces around to all of the other connections to the final place of destination. For me, it was a kabuki dance to get to Orentano Wines.

When I think about writing a blog post, it’s mostly not about our wine clients that I focus on (except for PS I Love You, because there’s always so much “news.” Most especially I don’t think of some of them if Jose is the primary contact, because he works with that client on a day-to-day basis. Plus, Jose’s not journaling, like I am.

As a result, our Orentano wine client has been in the background for me, until I got to visit their Russian River Pinot Noir vineyard, and witness their pristine vine garden. You can just see how each vine is loved… period. It’s all in the grooming.

When I started my wine blog, I knew I’d be primarily writing about my day-to-day adventures. That’s what a journal is, right? And, I’ve taught my partner/husband Jose so well what I’ve learned about PR, that he’s off doing a lot of the (social)  media PR himself without me. He’s that good about it, for which I’m thankful.

So, about a month and a half ago, I traveled to Buoncristiani Vineyards, also the home of Orentano wine, to join him in a photography session. I feel in love with the location. The family wasn’t there that day… But, I did remember editing for their Website.

Ron Buoncristiani: My wine journey begins with my Tuscan roots, from the small town of Orentano, Italy. My grandparents were born and raised there, before they immigrated to California. As a child living in San Francisco with my family, I have great memories of my father and grandfather making wine together. They would order wine grapes and then wait for the truck to arrive with their delivery. I remember how much fun it was to help with the winemaking process, and how my mother and grandmother would always cook a delicious meal for us all to enjoy together after working with the grapes. These memories inspired me to create a similar scenario for my own children and grandchildren. I really wanted to be able to leave something of substance to my family; something that would create ties between our family’s roots in Italy and our life together in California.

Since my childhood, I’ve dreamed of someday growing my own wine grapes. In the year 2000, I acted on intuition. It was the right time, when Melanie [wife] and I bought seven acres of rolling hills in Russian River Valley. We named it the R. Buoncristiani Vineyard, and spent that first year researching and planning what grape varieties would be best suited to our microclimate. By the following year, we had planted six of our seven acres of Pinot Noir, and today we overlook well-groomed rows of vines with great satisfaction.

When we planted the vineyard, there was a steady demand for Pinot Noir grapes. After three years, when our grapes were first ready to go to market, the demand for grapes declined swiftly and steeply. This is what led to my decision to make my own wine with my own grapes, naming our wine brand Orentano.

Orentano directly reflects my Italian roots, and it’s authentic to the style of wine we’re making. Our Pinot Noir is a bigger and bolder Pinot Noir than most. It is very food-friendly, and complements nearly every meal. Orentano’s first vintage was in 2004, the first year I started making wine. I got together with others in a co-op situation; it was a collaborative group of four or five other grape growers. Our winemaker Chris Demetre was working for the co-op at the time. When the co-op dissolved, I asked Chris if he’d continue to make my wine, since I greatly respect his skills and ability.

We’ve always been a close family, but Melanie and I have found that our vineyard and winery have allowed us all to connect on an even deeper level. When our daughter Tina got married, I made and bottled a special vintage for her wedding. She has children now, and they love to follow me through the vines. As they play, I help them learn about the grapes and what the vineyard needs from us. Orentano wine is truly about family: past, present, and future.

What I found is what’s described, and so much more… I found the Buoncristiani oasis, the place where a family comes together to enjoy country’s good life, their escape hatch from the hustle and bustle of the city… What I had in childhood that we called “camp.” Theirs decidedly has a lot more work attached to it. I only had to pick blueberries and raspberries in the summer sun, and swim in Sabattus Lake all day… They’ve got an entire seven acres of wine grapes to bring in. I ate blueberry crisp; they’re drinking Pinot Noir… The memories for the children will be similar to mine, though… off to the country.

My second visit found most of the family at the vine garden. It was so sweet, so pure, so unrehearsed. So special… because it’s really a great family, that’s growing prestigious Pinot Noir wine grapes in Russian River Valley. It takes a smart Italian to work with the best suited grapes to his property, rather than stick his neck out and insist on doing exactly what he forefathers did, with Italian varieties. Ron Buoncristiani has spared no expense to deliver the best grapes available, and make the best wine from his fruit… and keep it from the birds!

When Steve Heimoff of Wine Enthusiast magazine wrote the following for them, they were so elated:

90 POINTS: Orentano 2009 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley): Showing some mature notes at the age of four years or so, with a mellow texture framing cherry pie, cola and spice flavors. Feels silky, lush and delightful. Drink now–2015 as the fruit gradually fades away.

I couldn’t agree more about Feels silky, lush and delightful, and I know where it comes from…. Loving, caring Buoncristiani hands.


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