There’s something special about Alexandra
In addition to being a 4th generation grape grower and winemaker in her family, Alexandra is making a name for herself as a woman winemaker in a landscape traditionally dominated by men.
Alexandra feels incredibly lucky to continue her family’s winemaking tradition. Growing up in a family of winemakers, she learned from an early age the feeling of being connected with the earth and truly knowing where her food – and wine – came from.
This interest turned passion blossomed into a true love story for Alexandra as she began to see how wine was a way to capture time in a bottle. Her Father, Greg Graziano, led her every step of the way, imparting his invaluable knowledge of wine that would shape what she knows about it today.
With wine on the brain, Alexandra enrolled in a Viticulture and Enology program at UC Davis. Upon graduation, she returned to her roots to work on the family vineyard. After a period at home, she decided to spread her wings and make a trip all the way out to New Zealand where she worked on a large winery located in the South Island.
It was here that she learned some valuable lessons about the winemaking process. She got to see first hand how a large-scale winemaking production system operates. One word came to mind: soulless. With a bit more grit to her boot, Alexandra returned home again and vowed to learn everything she could about wine.
Being from a small family winery means that Alexandra wears many hats. Sometimes, she’s out breaking a sweat in the vineyard. Other times she’s indulging her winemaking ‘work’ side of things, and you’ll occasionally find her underneath the bottling line itself with a wrench, trying to wrangle it back to life.
She wouldn’t change what she does for the world, though. She loves every minute of it and considers every day she’s able to grow and make wine a blessing. As a side project, she has taken on the role of advocate for the exposure of their county in the winemaking world.
Mendocino County is still small fry and therefore incredibly underrated. Many grapes produced here go straight to Napa Valley, but few realize this. The battle Alexandra fights is uphill, to show people just how diverse the landscape and climate are. This type of environment means you can grow just about any grape you wish.
When Alexandra hangs her hat up at night, her one hope is that she has made the best wine she can. This wine is in small batches from vineyards that are cared for by hand – but they all have their own story to tell. She hopes that Mendocino County will someday have the notoriety it deserves.
It seems fitting to share Alexandra’s story as 2018 comes to a close. This year marks one hundred years since her family began to grow grapes in the Mendocino region.
2014 Zinfandel: Mendocino County is home to many different vineyards. Five of these have come together to produce this excellent wine. This vintage catches the eye with its deep red color, the nose of which displays rich aromas of plum, toasty oak, black cherry, and boysenberry. Earthy cherry cola and plum beckon at the front of the palate, making way for a generous mouth-feel that announces that you’re drinking a Zinfandel. The long, lingering finish is accompanied with a perfectly balanced acidity.
2014 Grenache: The Ukiah Valley in Mendocino County is where you’ll find the vineyard that produced this varietal. Excellent exposure, coupled with shallow gravely soils, produces this vineyard’s intensely ripe grapes. Aged for twenty months in a combination of American, Eastern European and French Oak, this vintage will greet you with beautiful aromas of blackberry on the nose and spice and black cherry and the palate.
2015 Carignane: The 70-year-old Vincenzo Vineyard is responsible for this 2015 Carignane. Clay-loam land soils produce a grape that is rich in flavor and ripeness. American and French Oak barrels house this varietal for twenty-four months to soften and add complexity to the full flavors and intense aromas of earth and dark fruits. This wine pairs well with a sharp, well-aged cheese.
You’ll find Graziano’s tasting room in Hopland, CA, a quaint little town with plenty of things to do. From having a mid-day picnic at the Central Oasis to getting your brunch on at the Bluebird Café, you’ll have plenty of excuses to make a weekend of it.
If you’re already connected to Graziano through Vinely and have been lucky enough to try their exceptional wines, you may want to make a trip of it in the New Year to see what their delightful tasting room has on offer.
While there, don’t forget to try out 2015 Coro Mendocino, the first wine of its kind to set aging and blending parameters so that it can be called a wine distinctive to its region in the United States, of which Greg Graziano is one of the founders.
Don’t forget, tastings are complimentary in all club wineries!