To find out what wines "Millennials" (individuals in the 21-35 age group) enjoy, a worldwide competition was held in the Bay-area last month, bringing together Millennial winemakers and Millennial judges. The competition was called “The NextGen Competition,” short for Next Generation.
As I have been making Charter Oak wine with Rob Fanucci since 2002, two years ago, he asked me to come inside his family winery business and join him as an active partner. (Let’s get this potential Conflict of Interest relationship off the table…. But it has nothing to do with the story I’m about to relate.)
David pours wine at the annual Charter Oak ZinArt party, an infusion of good wine and good art, the latter produced by Rob’s wife, Layla Fanucci. Layla’s “Cityscape” oils are internationally shown and collected.
Over time, we have encouraged Rob’s son, David Fanucci, to help us make the wine and 21-year-old David is now Charter Oak’s official assistant winemaker, helping punch down fermenting wines, rack wines throughout the year and help prepare final blends. (That’s David in the first shot above.)
The rules for the NextGen Competion were that you must have a Millennial on your winemaking team – and as David fits the age-grade category, we submitted our 2007 Charter Oak Monte Rosso Zinfandel, which David had a large part in making and blending.
Twenty-four Millennial-aged judges – all of them wine industry professionals – assembled in the Bay-area in June and tasted through 730 wines submitted from all over the world.
Our 2007 Charter Oak Monte Rosso Zinfandel was chosen blind as THE NUMBER ONE WINE IN THE WORLD to be made by a Next Generation "Millennial" OUT OF 730 WINES IN THE COMPETITION!
Donny and August Sebastiani, recognized pioneers in developing innovative wines in America, served as honorary co-chairs of the NextGen event.
“For four generations, our family has produced quality value wines and now it’s our chance to take the wine business to the next level, says Donny.
Organizers of the NextGen Wine Competition say they intend to make it an annual event.
Over at Charter Oak, we’ve had to put sand in Rob’s cuffs to keep his feet on the ground.
If you’ve never been to Charter Oak, in St. Helena, let me explain its microscopic imprint; there are something like 500 wineries in Napa Valley and we are pretty sure that Charter Oak is (proudly) the smallest of the 500.
We make all our wines (about 750 cases per year total) by hand, the old-fashioned way. Which explains why our Zinfandels and Petite Sirahs have a silken texture and an elegant balance, not typically found in these varietal wines.
To make an appointment to visit Charter Oak, call Rob at 707-963-2298. Rob says that if you mention you read this story in napaman, you’ll receive a 10% case discount. See, it pays to read napaman!