Buoncristiani Family Winery
Buoncristiani Family Winery burst onto the scene when their 2001 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was awarded 92 points by Wine Spectator. The magazine also featured the brothers in its “New Wines New Faces” section. These honors were the first in a string of impressive accomplishments.
The brothers’ 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was rated 91 points by Wine Spectator and their 2004 Napa Valley Syrah was given 92 points. This wine was also awarded the magazine’s prestigious honor of “Wine of the Day” on February 7, 2007.
Matt, Jay, Aaron and Nate grew up making homemade wine with their father, Robert. Over the years, Robert has entered his wines in many competitions and has done quite well. He passed on his love of winemaking to his sons, who decided to bond Buoncristiani Family Winery in 1999. Explaining their decision to go into the wine business at a young age, Jay has said, “Most people go through life stressed, only later changing their lifestyle. We skipped all that. We started broke and went straight for the lifestyle.”
Matt and Jay, the 2 eldest brothers, made their first wine with Zinfandel grapes from Amador County. They entered their 1997 Zinfandel in some local wine competitions and it won several awards. At this point, the 2 eldest brothers realized that they had a future in the winemaking business.
While there are many family owned wineries in California, the Buoncristiani Brothers point out that they are a “family only” winery. They handle every step of the process from vineyard management to bottling without outside help. They are literally the only ones who have a hand in making Buoncristiani Family Wines. Each of the brothers has a different area of specialization in the family venture.
Matt is the eldest of the brothers and has a Masters of Science degree from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania with a specialty in Cardiac Rehabilitation. After leaving the medical field in the mid 1990s, he lived in Italy for a few years before establishing the family winery with his brothers. Matt worked for Rudd Estate Winery for 5 years and is currently the Cellar Master at Caldwell Cave Winery.
Jay has a degree in Chemistry, Biology and Physics from Santa Clara University. After he graduated in 1996, Jay began took a job at The Hess Collection Winery and also began making his own wine with Matt. Jay grasped the art and science of winemaking quickly and was soon promoted to Enologist for The Hess Collection. In 2001, he became the winemaker for The Hess Collection, where he remained until 2005. Jay is currently the head winemaker for Buoncristiani Family Winery and also consults for several other premium wine producers.
Aaron has a degree in Film Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Aaron began his winemaking career working under the legendary Philippe Melka at Caldwell Cave Winery. When Mr. Melka decided to start Roy Estate Winery, Aaron was the only employee he hired to assist in developing this ultra premium Napa Valley producer. Aaron has always been a talented artist and one of his original works inspired the label that is used by Buoncristiani Family Winery.
Nate is the youngest brother and has a degree in Business Marketing from Chico State University. Nate’s duties for the family winery include product placement, sales, marketing, website design and wine production. He also works at Rudd Estate Winery in the cellar and the vineyard. In addition to running Buoncristiani Family Winery, the brothers also own a vineyard management company.
Buoncristiani Family Winery’s current offering include the 2006 Napa Valley Syrah Rosato, 2004 Napa Valley Syrah, 2004 Napa Valley Dolcetto, 2003 Napa Valley O.P.C. and 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Each of these wines is produced with meticulously selected grapes from many different vineyard blocks. As is the case with the best boutique wineries, the Buoncristiani Brothers do not rely on numbers to harvest- their expert palates make that determination.