For the Love of Family

/ Updated on May 15, 2020

When The Rehoboth Foodie (aka Bob Yesbek…) graciously allowed me to write about wine on back in March of 2013, I asked what type of articles he wanted. He replied, “why don’t you let our readers know the reasons behind Teller Wines selecting a particular wine?” From there, I got the message, and have been writing about family-owned boutique wineries from around the world. At some point, I think I veered off to issues related to the enjoyment of wine. But now, I am back to my original charge.

Teller Wines is a small, family-owned business. It makes sense that we want to support the family-owned wineries. Kevin and I have had the pleasure of meeting many world-renowned winemakers, vintners, and owners over the past seven years. Some of whom you may have heard of, met at wine dinners, or whose wines you enjoy. Johann Reyneke (South Africa), Manfredo Conti San di Bonifacio (Italy), Manny Muga (Spain), and countless vintners from California, Oregon, and Washington. So, it was a no brainer when we were invited to attend a wine seminar lunch (seriously, this is work?!) back in late January. The special guest of honor was none other than legendary José Zuccardi. [See the gallery: pictured with Catherine.] The luncheon was held at the iconic Columbus Inn in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Zuccardi family owns vineyards at the foot of the Andes Mountains in Mendoza, Argentina. This area is a cultivated oasis at the highest altitude. The vineyards benefit from the cold and dry climate and wide temperature range. The combination of multiple micro-climates, altitudes, soil types and vineyard care results in multiple terroirs.

Alberto Zuccardi (who was an engineer by profession) founded this winery almost fifty years ago. It was Alberto’s quest for irrigation solutions that brought him into the winemaking business. Today, second generation José Zuccardi serves as director and exporter of his family’s portfolio. José’s son Miquel runs the craft production of Zuccardi family’s olive oils. Daughter Julia leads the hospitality team at Casa del Visitante, and two other properties. (We have always carried the Santa Julia line.) Son Sebastian is the chief winemaker.

The Zuccardi family owns vineyards in five different parts of the Uco Valley. They use a variety of fermentation methods, including concrete, French and American oak barrels. Their beautiful winery looks like a spaceship embedded into the earth. Each of the five vineyards has distinct soil characteristics. Finca Piedra Infinita is located in the center of an alluvial cone of dejection, giving the grounds a marked heterogeneity. Finca Los Membrillos is a tribute to the tradition of irrigation in Argentina’s viticulture. The management of this farm is made respecting the craft furrow irrigation system, in which the one in charge of regulating the water is the protagonist for their dedication and care. Finca Las Cuchillas is located in extreme conditions of altitude on alluvial soils caused by streams flowing down from this part of the region. This is truly a mountain vineyard. Finca Canal Uco is the first part of the two vineyards located in Paraje Altamira. It is characterized by deeper soils. Finca Agua de la Jarilla is characterized by extreme cold and dry climate with large temperature range.

The Zuccardis use sustainable farming methods in growing their grapes. This ensures a more “natural” wine.  No chemicals or pesticides are necessary. The entire Santa Julia line is made from organic grapes.

Back to the lunch. We tasted 10 phenomenal wines, paired with 5 courses of deliciousness.  Go ahead, drool over the menu [scroll the gallery]. But the best part was meeting José and talking with him about his family.  I learned that not only are their wines sustainable but that his family created jobs for the wives of the vineyard workers. The proceeds from the products they make are then invested into building schools. The Zuccardis also built a cocina to feed their staff. Now, that’s paying it forward and investing in his community.  

The Zuccardi family of wines represent what our brand is at Teller.  I hope that you will agree a good wine is one you like; but all the better if it comes from a source of love, integrity and passion. This is exactly why we choose to carry Zuccardi family wines!

Catherine Hester

About the Author

co-owner of Teller Wines in Lewes, DE with her husband Kevin, is a world traveler and shares their adventures at various wineries while offering thoughts on why she and Kevin order particular wines for their customers. Learn more about the Hesters by clicking here. View all articles written by Catherine Hester

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