Viano Vineyards wine producer

Viano Vineyards
In 1920 the Viano family emigrated to California from Piemonte in northern Italy, and settled in Contra Costa County, on the opposite shore of San Francisco Bay from the city, because the rolling hills reminded them of home.  At the time, Contra Costa supplied much of the wine consumed in San Francisco.
 
They bought an established vineyard on Vine Hill, which overlooked the small town of Martinez and which had been planted in 1888.  Their timing was poor ‐ or perhaps they picked up the vineyard for a song ‐ because 1920 was the year Prohibition began.  Of the fifteen or so vineyards on Vine Hill, theirs was one of the few to survive the dry years, restarting wine production under the Viano name in 1946.
 
It’s the only one left today.  Vine Hill is now a desirable suburb of Martinez, and the other vineyards have long since been built over.  A million people now live in Contra Costa, and the same story has been repeated across the county; there are only half a dozen wineries left.
 
The 25 hectares of Viano hillside vineyards are now a little oasis amid the urban sprawl.  They look much the same as they always did: wide-spaced bush vines to withstand drought, since they have never been irrigated.  A few of the vines even date back to 1888.  The business is now in the hands of 3rd-generation brothers John and David Viano, with a helping hand from the 4th and 5th generations.
 
The vineyards are managed organically, without chemical fertilisers or pesticides, and all fermentations are done with natural yeasts.  They grow a broad range of varieties: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, French Columbard, Muscat Canelli, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese, Valdigue and Zinfandel, producing 14 different wines.  Their Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Zinfandel Port have been consistent medal winners.

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