Tasting the Terroir of the Russian River Valley

Pellegrini Winery - VinoVisit

Pellegrini Wine Company is located on the Olivet Lane Vineyard, in the heart of the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County, CA. The winery, renowned for its heritage Pinot Noir planting at the Olivet Lane Estate and strongly influenced by the Burgundian-style of winemaking, crafts distinctive and affordable world-class wines.

But what’s the story behind the winery? We caught up with Alexia Pellegrini, the youngest of the Pellegrini family, who runs the winery today to learn more about their journey in wine.

The Story

The Pellegrini Wine Company is a family legacy spanning four generations. The founders, Nello and Gino Pellegrini, migrated to New York from Tuscany, Italy in the early 1900’s in search of the American dream. In 1925, the brothers headed out West and became Sonoma County grape merchants, shipping grapes throughout the U.S. for home winemaking.

In 1973, the Pellegrini’s purchased a 70-acre apple, plum and olive orchard on West Olivet Road in Santa Rosa. They planted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, developing one of the first vineyards in the region devoted exclusively to these two varieties. This parcel has since become known as the Olivet Lane Vineyard–named after the 120 olive trees which line the vineyard’s east entrance.

Surprisingly, these original vines are still in the ground today, which means you’re sipping wines hailing from a 43-year-old vineyard—a rare (and special!) treat not found at most wineries.

Pellegrini Vineyards - VinoVisit

In 2001, the Tuscan-styled winery opened its doors to the public; coincidentally, on the same day as Alexia’s 21st birthday.

Alexia grew up in San Francisco and didn’t have any plans to work in the family business. But the year the winery opened, she took her first wine class and something clicked. She fell in love with the grape and the world of wine. She now runs the winery alongside her father, Robert Pellegrini.

Alexia Pellegrini - VinoVisit

My job—it’s not 9-5 kind of work. I live it all day, every day.”—Alexia Pellegrini

The Experience

Expect to be treated like a member of the family when visiting Pellegrini Wine Company. “You can just chill like you’re in a friend’s backyard”, said Adam, our Wine Guide for the visit. “This is a place to relax, enjoy the moment and make yourself comfortable.”

Theirs is more than a simple tasting though; it’s a connection with the terroir–the soils, topography and climate of a vineyard. Being able to see the historic vines while you’re tasting the wine–knowing that what’s in the glass, came directly from each vine right in front of you —creates such a memorable experience, and leaves you with an even greater appreciation for the family’s commitment to site-specific winemaking.

Pellegrini Wine Bottles - VinoVisit

The indoor/outdoor tasting room has a rustic charm and is very welcoming. If the weather is chilly, no worries, the glowing fireplace on the patio will warm you. And during Harvest, you can watch the crew pick the grapes in vineyard adjacent to the tasting room. You’ll feel as if you’re a part of the action! Cool fact: they have an amazing vintage vinyl collection and play really good old-school music.

And of course, you can take advantage of the beautiful farm-to-table garden views by joining in on one of the daily tours offered. Tip: we recommend visiting the winery during spring when everything is in full bloom.

Here are our two favorite experiences at Pellegrini Wine Company:

Enjoy a guided tasting and sample an unparalleled selection of wines in true Russian River style while overlooking the historic vineyard.

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Enjoy a private wine tasting followed by a wine country picnic lunch in the beautiful olive grove. Lunch includes a glass of wine, gourmet sandwich and salad from Rosso’s. Note: 24-hour advance reservation required.

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Don’t just take our word for it. Pay a visit to the Pellegrini Wine Company and we promise….you won’t be disappointed.

Happy wine tasting!

Louise Veron


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