Red Truck Zinfandel
Start Your Engines! The idea for Red Truck wines started when Fred & Nancy Cline, of Sonoma, California’s Cline Cellars, fell in love with a painting of an old classic red truck, and purchasing it at an auction benefiting the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. Created by internationally renowned, Sonoma-based artist Dennis Ziemienski, the light filled painting of a vintage truck set against a typical Sonoma landscape of soft, golden hills, bright blue sky and cotton ball clouds seemed destined to become a sensational new wine label with universal appeal.
Today Red Truck wines are being driven by wine industry veterans Dan Leese and Doug Walker who purchased the brand from the Clines in 2005.
Although Charlie Tsegeletos owns a garage full of motorcycles, he has a soft spot for the old 1947 GMC truck that serves as the mascot for Red Truck Wines. “I’m partial to that old bus,” says Charlie, “I’ve taken that thing all over, even done drag races with it. It loses control at about 40 miles per hour.” Having grown up amidst a landscape much like that pictured on the Red Truck label – the rolling, golden hills of Sonoma – Charlie is eminently well-suited to his role as winemaker. Raised by an Italian mom and a Greek dad, Charlie’s family always had a bottle of wine on the table. But his interest in making wine was inherited from his great grandfather, Guippe Guidotti, who in the 1930’s grew grapes and made wine in the Guerneville area of Sonoma County.
“My grandmother talked about her father all the time,” says Charlie, who has tried to locate the precise spot where his great grandfather made his wine, and believes it is now owned by Korbel Champagne Cellars. “I remember her saying he made a white and a red, and that people would come from all over the county to get it. That intrigued me.”
Winemaker’s comments “This delicious wine composed of Zinfandel, Carignane, Syrah, and Mourvedre explodes with cherry, plum and black pepper notes reflective of its renowned Sonoma County & Dry Creek Valley terroir.” The backbone of this wine comes from Dry Creek Valley, a certified organic vineyard located on the west side of the creek. This gorgeous vineyard, filled with old head-trained vines, has produced blockbuster fruit since the mid-1960’s. Individual lots of fruit were harvested separately according to ripeness and balance of acidity. The grapes underwent de-stemming and a very gentle crushing to ensure a large proportion of whole berries in the must contributing to the explosive fruit character of the wine. The wines were pressed off their skins at dryness and racked twice before being put on medium-toast French oak.