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Scotto Family Cellars

Scotto Family Cellars

In 1883, the Scotto family started moving west, from Italy to New York to California. During this multi-generation journey, there has been one constant - the Scottos were making wine somewhere near water.

Salvatore Scotto was a farmer, sailor and winemaker on Ischia, a small island west of Naples. He taught his son Dominic two skills that eventually shaped his life: repairing boats and making wine. Dominic became a ship’s caulker and moved his family to New York in 1903, where he and his crews travelled up and down the east coast repairing and building wooden sailing ships. In between jobs he made wine for the family table and for his neighbours, which he sold in five gallon jugs from a horse drawn wagon. When Prohibition ended, Dominic and his brothers opened one of Brooklyn’s first liquor stores: it's still in business today, albeit under different ownership.

Continuing the family tradition, Dominic taught his sons to make wine and Anthony, the second youngest, also picked up his father’s sales skills. By 1940, Anthony was pushing a two wheeled cart through the neighbourhood selling gallon jugs of red wine. Like the generations before him, Dominic expected to have good wine on the dinner table every night, and the dark days of World War II impressed on him the importance of making good wine that sold for reasonable prices. This is the passion that still drives the Scotto family.

In 1953, Anthony and his brothers purchased a small Brooklyn wine company, consisting of just one salesman who only spoke Italian! Ten years later, Anthony purchased a California winery and moved west, turning the Brooklyn business over to his brothers. He endured the inevitable boom and bust cycles that challenge vintners worldwide, but continued the family tradition of passing his winemaking skills to his children while instilling the importance of selling good wines at reasonable prices.

Today, Scotto Family Cellars makes small lots of artisanal wines in Lodi, paying tribute to their ancestors via the ship's sail on the labels. The winery is owned and operated by Anthony Scotto III, a 5th generation winemaker, with help from his sister Natalie and his brother Paul. It won't be long until the winery will also employ the 6th generation of Scottos, in the shape of Anthony’s son Santino.

Media attention to the Scotto wines has been growing of late, with the Old Vine Zinfandel appearing on Jancis Robinson’s Purple Pages website and inspiring this comment from Simon Woods: “Why aren’t there more wines like this from California?… It’s hard to think of a wine business that wouldn’t benefit from such a wine.”

Mitch Cosentino has recently joined Scotto Family Wines as consultant winemaker, working closely with Paul Scotto at their Napa Valley winery. Mitch is a self-taught winemaker, tasting and visualising wine in shapes. He believes that, “a perfect wine is a square. I try to describe wine as a picture”. He is known as a master blender, able to craft amazing wines from "pieces and parts".

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