The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2017

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Delicato carries a wide-ranging portfolio of national brands, shipping more than nine million cases in 2016. The original Sam Jasper Winery opened by Gaspare Indelicato and Sebastiano Luppino in Manteca, CA. PHOTOS PROVIDED COURTESY OF DELICATO 50  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2017 BRAND PROFILE G aspare Indelicato, grandfather of Delicato CEO Chris Indelicato, emigrated from Italy to the U.S. at the age of 16 in 1924. It was Prohibition, but the climate and terroir of Manteca, CA, reminded him of Sicily, where his family had grown grapes for genera- tions, so he purchased a dairy property and planted his first vineyard. He met Sebastiano Luppino while pruning grapes, and they started the Sam Jasper Winery in Manteca (named after their two nicknames). Gaspare's instincts and timing were perfect, and in 1934 they released their first official vintage. In the 1960s, Gaspare and his sons began making wine for California's big- gest brands and became one of the state's largest bulk wine producers. In the '70s, family members joined in to help manage the growth, including Chris, who was 11 at the time. In 1988, the family purchased vineyard land in the San Bernabe region of Monterey. "My family recognized the potential of the Central Coast ahead of most of our industry col- leagues," notes Cheryl Indelicato, Family Ambassador and San Bernabe Vineyard Hospitality Director. The big change came in 2000, when Delicato Family Vineyards started its own portfolio of wine brands. "This was the turning point for us, when we became a branded wine company," Chris Indelicato explains. "The next step was in 2002, when we started to move away from brokers to manage our wholesaler relationships and hired an amazing sales team to grow our business." And grow it did. Bota Box, a portable and eco-friendly three-liter bag-in-box, was born in 2003 and now sells more than five million cases per year. In 2004, the same year Chris assumed the role of President and CEO, the company launched Gnarly Head, inspired by Lodi's ancient, gnarled Zinfandel vines, which quickly became the top-selling Zinfandel in the U.S. Continuing the innovation trend, two years later Delicato launched "337"—named for a lot of clone "337" Cabernet, which paved the way for the Noble Vines Collection of wines. Black Stallion Estate, Diora, Z. Alexander Brown—the top new wine brand of 2016, according to Nielsen—and the V2 Wine Group portfolio were some of the wines that Delicato continued to acquire and build in the following years. In addition, Delicato acquired the Blossom Hill Winery from Treasury Wine Estates; located in the Paicines AVA, it provides Delicato with an additional four million cases of growth capacity. Gaspare would have been proud. Nearly a century after his arrival, Delicato Family Vineyards has become a top-ten wine company, shipping more than nine million cases last year, and is well positioned to hit ten million in 2017. Third-generation family members Chris and his brother Jay, along with their uncle Vince and cousins Frank, Cheryl, Mike and Marie, are carrying on Gaspare's legacy and are beginning to pass along the same aspirations to the fourth generation. Fittingly, in 2018, the company plans to break ground on the Sam Jasper Winery in Napa, in honor of the original winery where it all began, with a first vintage of 2024 in celebration of the company's centennial anniversary. Delicato Founder Gaspare Indelicato with his sons Anthony and Vince. Decades of Indelicatos THE STORY BEHIND CALIFORNIA'S FASTEST-GROWING WINE COMPANY by Izzy Watson

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