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Sam Sebastiani Debuts La Chertosa Wines

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Sam Sebastiani Mug with wine glass PicmonkeySam Sebastiani, winemaker and conservationist

Sonoma, CA – May 13, 2014 – Sam Sebastiani has announced the release of La Chertosa wines. Named for the 14th century Renaissance monastery in the Tuscan valley of Farneta, Italy where the Sebastiani ancestral roots began, the wines are produced from California grapes grown primarily in red Tuscan series soils and aged moderately in new and young oak barrels. Their style is described as “Old World” because the wines are made in a balanced and food-friendly style.

When Sam’s grandfather, Samuele Sebastiani, came to Sonoma in 1893, he found that the area closely resembled faraway Farneta in three ways; it boasted a mild Mediterranean climate, had the same red soils and was blessed with gently sloping hillsides. He founded Sebastiani Winery in 1904, where he employed the time-honored techniques taught him by the Chertosinian monks in Farneta. This is the winemaking style that his grandson continues to use.

“In the two previous chapters of my winemaking life,” Sam reminisced, “running Sebastiani and then Viansa winery, we held true to our heritage, by striving to find the best soils and vineyards to create the 'Old World' winemaking style.”

LaChertosa Sangio Web 2 PicmonkeyLabel by Britton Design reflects La Chertosa's Italian heritageSo successfully did Sam Sebastiani honor his heritage and “Old-World,” Italian-style winemaking techniques, that the president of Italy bestowed knighthood on Sam in 2002. The acccolade was in recognition of Sebastiani’s contributions to Italy’s winemaking heritage here in the United States. .

Parallel to his lifetime as a winemaker, Sam Sebastiani has lived a passionate life as a conservationist focused on waterfowl. In the 1950s, Sam’s father, winemaker August Sebastiani, had him tending his penned, personal collection of North American waterfowl. The younger Sebastiani fell in love with watching the cycle of bird life. He decided to care for birds in the wild and got his chance in 1990 when he built his first waterfowl preserve at Viansa Winery. This 90-acre wetland restoration project was designed and created by Sam and Ducks Unlimited. It was a resounding success and garnered Sam the Private Conservationist of the Year Award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Still enraptured by the wetland project in Sonoma Valley, Sebastiani found his next project after visiting the North Platte River in Nebraska. Impressed with the waterfowl numbers, in 2002 he purchased an 800-acre island in the river with an additional surrounding 1,500 acres. He and his wife, Robin, have built 18 ponds connected by undulating streams of warm water so, from the sky, this 2,300 acre ranch looks like a land of lakes and waterways. The ultimate effect has been to create a veritable magnet for wild ducks and geese called Winemaker’s Island.

“It may seem a stretch to some,” explains Sebastiani, “but to me winemaking and conservation lead to the same conclusions. Whether it is wine or waterfowl, we must remember that we are stewards of the land and retain respect and reverence for Mother Nature.”

La Chertosa's wines are produced in very small quantity and have limited distribution in California, Nebraska and Colorado. Further information can be had at www.lachertosawines.com. 

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