The Foppoli family has been making boutique wines in California for nearly 100 years. In Italy, the family winemaking tradition dates back centuries. The American practice started 5 generations ago when Giuseppe Foppoli created a high end private label in a small production facility located in the North Beach section of San Francisco. Giuseppe only allowed the wine to be sold to a select list of long time customers and in the two high end private social clubs that he ran in the city.
The tradition of high end exclusivity has been passed down to Giuseppe’s great grandson Dominic Foppoli who is the current Brand Manager of Foppoli Wines. Dominic, along with his wine making father Richard, have kept the practice of making only small production lots reserved for private family use and direct sales to friends and associates. In 2002, with the addition of new vineyards on the Foppoli Family Estate in the central Russian River Valley, the Foppoli’s finally allowed a vineyard designate to be created from their excess crops. The huge public success from these designates along with the expansion of facilities on the estate finally convinced the Foppoli family to create a retail label for their wine. The 2006 Foppoli Russian River Valley Chardonnay marked the first vintage the family has ever allowed to be released to the general public. After nearly a century, the Foppoli’s hand crafted, tradition infused wine is finally available in a limited release to the general public.
Welcome to our Russian River Valley estate vineyard. The Foppoli family planted this vineyard in 1999-2000 with the goal of producing world-class Chardonnay fruit and thus, world class wines. Winemaking truly begins in the vineyard. It begins before planting when a decision has to be made regarding the proper clone of fruit paired with the proper rootstock. To aid in this selection, trenches are dug throughout the proposed vineyard, and soil samples are sent to a laboratory for thorough analysis. These results will be used to assess the vigor and indicate if a drought resistant rootstock is preferable to a moisture loving rootstock. All of these decisions influence the final glorious product, wine.
Each of the vines is touched by hand a minimum of 7 times during the year, this enables them to keep close observation for potential problems. Richard Foppoli has a degree in Biology which helps him fully understand the dynamics involved in having the proper balance with nature. Rather than having man-made controls, they encourage birds of prey to do our work; they have a number of old trees that serve as a sort of sanctuary for these animals. There are hawks, falcons, and owls in abundance to control the natural pest population as well as fox’s, coyotes and raccoons. Proper sustainability is key to proper stewardship of the land. They also employ a small herd of cattle to keep weed growth/ fire hazards in control as well as naturally fertilizing the vineyard and producing the cutest calves around.
The Foppoli winemaking philosophy is best described as truly hand crafted. Starting with the best grapes and gently encouraging the flavors of the vineyard to express themselves, the wines are complex yet never overworked. Throughout the entire winemaking process little is done to alter the purity of the fruit, with minimum intervention from vineyard to glass. Five generations of the Foppoli family’s winemaking traditions have carefully been brought together to create a quality and unique wine. With a passion for winemaking and a pure expression of the vineyards, Foppoli wines are nothing less than an unforgettable pleasure.
Here is a list of their wines:
2005 1470 Foppoli Chardonnay
2007 Foppoli Reserve Chardonnay
Foppoli Lion Edition Chardonnay
Foppoli Napa Reserve Sparkling Wine
We did not have a good experience visiting this winery. The wines were decent, but not worth the money. And the experience was beyond poor with terrible service. I won’t get into the details, but I am not surprised it has since closed since our visit several years ago. There are many other options in the area, so no need to waste your time going to substandard wineries.