I wanted to let Locals fans get to know the origins of some of our winemakers. This will be a sporadic series based off of availability of the winemakers.

imageWhat was your first experience with wine? I was in my 20’s. Mostly drinking white wine, red wine gave me a headache. I drank mostly chardonnay. Then I started drinking some of the smaller winery wines, noticed I didn’t have the same problem with them as I did with the mass produced wines. They had the lower sulfates.

How did you get into the wine industry? Back in 1994 I moved up here to Sonoma County and met David Coffaro. He had just won a gold medal for his zinfandel. It was unlike anything I have ever tasted before! Dave found out me and my wife were in the catering business and had us cater a small dinner for them. Dave invited the Peston family among others from all throughout Dry Creek. I saw them sitting around a table drinking wine and talking and thought I want that. I want to be over there drinking and talking about wine every day. Also the passion of David Coffaro, it is infectious. His passion for wine and movies and music. He would invite me over to his house for dinner once a week. He would open 10 bottles of wine with dinner then take me out to taste barrel samples.

How did you start making your wine? I had the opportunity in 2004 to make wine at Dave Coffaro’s facility- a Bernier zin field blend, and the 2004 cuvee in honor of my daughter Leslie. For the cuvee Dave let me go to any barrel and make a blend. The first cuvee had Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese, Carignone, and Touriga Nacional. There were 100 cases of cuvee and 50 of the zinfandel. I started entering them in competitions and I won silver from the Chronicle for both. At that time Dave started to let me do some custom crush at his facility.

How did you go from making wine to selling wine? One year, back in 2004 I realized I made too much wine to drink myself. I looked at the different licenses and decided to get a winery license over a distributor license. Then in 2005 I planted my estate vineyard right next to highway 128 on the hillside.

Anything else you would like to mention? Well I have won 50 awards out of 54 for my wines. I am a nice guy, fun to talk to. Also you make great bacon toffee for your late harvest! Ha ha ha. You’re right.

Sami Stone

Locals Tasting Room