Unti Vineyards

California / USA

At A Glance

Winemaker(s)

Jason Valenti

Appellation

Dry Creek Valley

Farming

Organic

Their Story

“As obsessive wine fanatics, we believe the worlds best wine grapes come from vineyards where the vines are naturally adapted to their environment...” — Mick Unti

Our first experience with the Unti wines was at the one and only A16 restaurant in San Francisco. The restaurant’s wine director and owner has been a long time supporter of the Unti family and would feature their wines by the glass. It was there we were able to slowly become acquainted with the handful of cuvées and grapes the family farm. What struck us most and still does is the beautiful acidity the Unti wines possess in the hot and thick conditions of the Dry Creek Valley (an area known for producing massive wines where acidity is commonly trumped by alcohol levels). Unlike their neighbors, Unti finds inspiration from Italy and Southern France as they grow and bottle Fiano, Vermentino, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Syrah, Grenache, and Mouvedre – just to name a few. Italian by heritage and lovers of French wine, Mick and his team seem to be able to do it all as we they represent both their homeland and their favorite wines to drink as well as anyone in California.

Mid Post Image
Mick Unti has converted all farming to Organic taking a more hands off approach in his vineyards.

“Unti Vineyards is a small, family-owned and operated winery specializing in Mediterranean varietal wines with vineyard personality. The winery, established in 1997, produces small lots of estate grown Barbera, Grenache, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Syrah and Zinfandel. We also produce a dry Rose from Grenache and Mourvedre and a White Blend of Vermentino, Grenache Blanc and Picpoul. We use artisan wine making methods to enhance and support our ability to make wines with a sense of place-such as fermenting and aging 45 to 60 different small batches of wine each year, using whole clusters in our Rhone varietal ferments, using a variety of fermenting and aging vessels including stainless steel, concrete tanks, large french oak ovals and small french oak barrels.

As obsessive wine fanatics, we believe the worlds best wine grapes come from vineyards where the vines are naturally adapted to their environment. This includes planting several varieties that heretofore have not been grown in the Dry Creek Valley, but are prominently planted in Southern Europe. We have been farming our vineyards organically since 2003, in an attempt to facilitate self sustaining vines without the use of herbicides and pesticides. We also apply organic compost according to the list of soil preparations prescribed by Rudolf Steiner.”

– Mick Unti

Interview with Mick Unti, Owner of Unti Vineyards

Where were you born and raised? Born in San Jose. Lived there until age 16. Finished high school and college in Seattle at U of W. If you could briefly describe your approach in the vineyard what would it be? Plant grape varieties that have a natural affinity for our climate and farm them with high quality in mind-dense vine spacing, low vigor rootstock, employ aggressive crop thinning, farm organically with some biodynamic techniques. What excites you most about your vineyards? The quality of wine coming from varieties like Grenache, Sangiovese, Barbera, Montepulciano, Vermentino and Fiano. When grown in our climate with quality in mind these varieties provide great aromas and flavors while maintaining the kind of acidity we have come to expect from Europe. If you could say one thing to the sommeliers who are introducing people to your wines for the first time, what would it be? These folks ( Mick and his father George) are crazy and very knowledgeable about European wine (particularly Rhone, Provence, and all of Italy) which has led them to pursue the highest quality from their own vineyards. What is your favorite type of music? Impossible question, since I like all kinds of music, all of the time. Depends on the day. Could be Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans, Pat Metheny or Jaco Pastorius one day. Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead or The Clash the next. Or Waylon, Willie and Graham Parsons. Oh, yeah there I always Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchel…..As I said, impossible to choose. I have referred to any or all of these folks in our winery newsletters. If you could have any superhero power, what would you choose? You know it has to be Steph Curry or Klay Thompson. Shooting 3 pointers like these guys is definitely superhuman. Visit Unti Vineyards Website