Antonio Ventresco, Dave Buchanan and Cenacolista Chris Gulli will take you through the trials and tribulations of the home winemaking process. They will talk about the process of winemaking, some of the challenges of making wine at home, the never-ending quest for good grapes, how much of wine making is just cleaning equipment, and how to get started. They will also bring some of their home vintages for sampling during lunch.
Antonio has been making wine for more than ten years, starting in 2012 with 250 pounds of Zinfandel purchased from the local home winemaking store. The size of his home wine operation has increased a little every year. This year he has four different 2022 varietals aging, for a total of about 1.5 tons (about 200 gallons). The varietals this year include Nero D’Avola, Vermintino, Aglianico and Montepulciano. When not making wine, his other main hobby is making sausage and other artisanal Italian foods.
Dave Buchanan started making wine at home in 1979. He generally organizes a group of friends to pick the grapes and organizes a series of parties to press and later bottle the wine. He has made Cabernet, Merlot, Zinfandel, Sangiovese and Barbera as well as Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, French Columbard and mead. He is known today as Mr. Carboy or Mr. Bottle on Craigs List, where he sells many 5-gallon glass bottles and cases of cleaned, used wine bottles.
Christopher Gulli has early memories of stomping grapes as a child with his dad and uncle in their Sunset home winery, and going to grape picking parties in Calistoga. For the last eight years, he has been an active participant in the Ventresco home winemaking operation, which keeps him very busy in August, September and October, and leaves him with the annual question, “What am I going to do with all this wine?”