By Laura Ness
Gracianna Winery began in 2005, and debuted their first wine in 2009, but they’ve made plenty of waves since then. They’ve been growing steadily at a rate of 12%—15% year over year, and big wins at the Sunset Competition have certainly contributed to their success.
Winery co-founder, Trini Amador III, named the brand after his great-grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga, a French Basque who escaped from German occupied Paris during WWII. She lived her life in gratitude and encouraged others to do the same. The attention-getting 2018 Gracianna Westside Reserve Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, won Best Red of Show and then Best of Show at the 2020 Sunset Wine Competition, with 97 points. No fluke, that, as it had previously scored 98 points and Best of Class at the 2020 North Coast Wine Challenge.
Says Amador, “We made 130 cases of this wine. The Westside Reserve is the best four barrels of pinot in the house. It is the only blend we make, combining the Mercedes Riverblock 11 pinot, 667 and 777 pinot noir. Overall among our members the wine was a huge hit. They took the wine in and have coveted it and held it close. Folks tell us about special meals, Thanksgiving especially. Just yesterday, members Stephen and Priscilla told us that they took a bottle up to Montage in Healdsburg and it was the best Pinot they have ever had. These folks know wine!”
Amador anticipates another good showing for his current wines at the upcoming Sunset Wine Competition, given that two of them have already done well at the 2021 Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge, with the 2019 Suzanne’s Blend Chardonnay scoring 97 points and the 2019 Lasaga Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir a whopping 99 points.
“Sunset Magazine has been very good to us. It has brought us lots more visibility. Overall, there was positive impact on the brand considering that we are very consistent in our messaging.“
Amador wishes, like many, that the triple whammy of disasters last year hadn’t thrown shade on that moment of glamour. “2020 was the best and worst of times. We were in the midst of a global pandemic and the story about a wine that will go down in history as one of the Pinots of all time was lost, but not to our members. They benefitted by the closely held knowledge that our wines have been gaining notoriety. We have only about 15 cases of the initial 130 at this point.”
In the spirit of being grateful, Amador recently released a new audiobook about his great-grandmother, available on Audible, as well as a new short film focusing on Gracianna Winery’s brand promise—”wines for those with something to be grateful for.” It can be viewed here: GratefulFilm
The short has been submitted into various film festivals including the Cannes Short Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Manhattan Film Festival, Napa Valley Film Festival and the Austin Film Festival.
Perhaps it will gain them cinematic notoriety to go along with their Sunset triumph.
For more information about the SUNSET International Wine Competition click here: https://sunsetcompetitions.