The story of Saini Vineyards began in 1917 when Michele Saini, the Great Grandfather of now caretaker and vineyard manager Mike Saini, bought a farm in the Dry Creek Valley of California. Michele, who immigrated to the USA from Genova, Italy, originally worked as a garbage man in San Francisco. While holding on to his full time job, he began growing winegrapes in his farm and making wine in his basement, which he then sold when he went to work in San Francisco. That grape growing and winemaking tradition continued with Mike’s grandfather, Eugene Saini who continued to expand the family land holdings into the Alexander Valley.
Fast-forward to 2008, and now known as one of the pioneering grape growing families in Sonoma County, John Saini and his wife Patti, with his son Mike and their friend George Christie harvested their first grapes for Saini Vineyards. Saini Vineyards consists of 300 acres planted to vines with some of their vines going all the way back to 1930. In 2013 John Saini passed the family torch to Mike, which with his wife Laura, now run the day to day operations and keep the family tradition alive.
During our visit to the beautiful and newly inaugurated Saini Vineyards tasting room, we were fortunate to meet both Laura and Mike Saini. It’s important to note that Laura also comes from a family in the Sonoma County wine business. To this day, the Saini’s clearly hold on to their family traditions and to their commitment to the land. A testament to this commitment is the fact that on the day that we visited, Laura was working the tasting room while Mike was tending to the vineyard. Luckily for us Mike decided to take a water break during our tasting and Laura recruited him to give us a vineyard tour. Walking the vineyard with Mike and his contagious energy was like immersing ourselves in a walking encyclopedia of viticulture. His knowledge of the terroir, the vines and the region is simply fascinating.
The sense of history at Saini Vineyards clearly comes to light when walking the vineyard and seeing the beautiful gnarly Zinfandel vines that date all the way back to 1930 or the old vine Carignan dating all the way back to 1942. Age is without a doubt a thing of beauty for the Saini Family.
Last but not least the wines. Saini Vineyards was actually the last stop of our Sonoma County adventure and we can happily say that we went out with a bang. There was not one wine from the seven that we tasted that we did not enjoy and picking a favorite was almost impossible. Their Zinfandels are some of the best we have had to date. Their Valentina Marie Rosé, which is named for their daughter and their Angelo’s Paint Brush, which is named for their son, are their two blends and they were both delicious. The Apple Block Zinfandel, which was one of our favorites along with the Olive Block Zinfandel, uses fruit from their 1930 vines and is elegantly bright and fruit forward. The Olive Block Zinfandel which is made with fruit from their 1942 vines, was both bold and smooth, a combination that we usually find hard to note in Zinfandels. Simply put, if you are a Zinfandel lover, you need to taste the ones from Saini Vineyards.
Experiencing Saini Vineyards and their commitment to family, terroir, the vines and hospitality is why Sonoma County has become one of our favorite Wine Destinations. When we visited Sonoma County for the first time many moons ago these were the traits that made us feel at home and it was exciting to see that to this day they are still alive in the region. Thank you Laura and Mike for sharing your wines and family history with us. We can’t wait to be back! 🍷