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Self-Taught Winemakers

The self-taught Salerno brothers have been making wine by thinking outside the box.

Self-Taught Winemakers

Manzanita Creek Winery
Healdsburg, CA

Brothers Jack and William Salerno of Manzanita Creek Winery first laid eyes on Dry Creek Valley in the heart of northwest Sonoma County wine country 25 years ago and were bound and determined someday to give up their jobs in construction and painting to make wine. Neither one knew the first thing about winemaking, but that didn't stop the passionate and visionary Salernos from forging ahead. "We read some text books on winemaking," says Jack, "then threw them away." Ever since then, the self-taught brothers have been making wine by thinking outside the box and by striving to make great wines that leave a lasting impression.

That line of thinking has paid off for Jack and William. In just their second year in production, they created a wine that made the San Francisco Chronicle's Top 100 list. And they continue to collect accolades with many high scores and gold medals going to their Zinfandels, Petite Sirahs, Syrahs, and Pinot Noirs. Last year at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair they received eleven medals--two Double Gold Best of Class, eight Gold, and one Silver.

A visit to Manzanita Creek Winery might make all the award winning hard to believe. There's no French chateau, no fancy tasting room, no glitz or glory. The winery is a simple "bricks and mortar" operation located in a light industrial center in the town of Healdsburg, just off Highway 101. The location and wine fit their tagline perfectly: "Great Wines.No Scenery.Never Boring." And "never boring" applies to the lively conversation with Jack.

It's easy to see why Manzanita Creek prides itself on its product: consistently made small quantities of delightful boutique wines. The winery spares no expense when it comes to selecting grapes. Most of them are sourced from celebrated Sonoma County vineyards know for growing grapes of intense aromas and flavors. So although the winemaking might be considered unorthodox, and the tasting room humble, Jack and William Salerno prove that tasting is believing.

What to buy:
'04 Novella
Muscat aroma, pears, clover honey, apricot cobbler lingers a bit $25
'05 Carreras Zin Old vine Dry Creek Valley provincial bouquet, huge berries, cassis, sweet oak, long complex finish $38
'05 Handal Family Petite Sirah Big flavor, dried fig, cherries, complex notes; Hungarian, French, and American oak $42

Contact:

707.433.4052; Fax: 707.433.4079
manzanitacreek.com
1441 A+B Grove St.
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Tasting Room Open Wed - Sat 10-4, or by Appointment

Getting There:

From Hwy 101 in Healdsburg, take Dry Creek Rd. Exit. Head east. Turn left at the light onto Grove St. Winery is on the left just around the first "S" curve.

Captions:
1. The Addor Vineyard in Mendocino is just one of the winery's carefully selected grape sources. 2. Guests enjoy themselves at a Passport Weekend event 3. Owners Jack and William Salerno

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