Domenico Winery + Osteria

Domenico Winery Throwback Story that Will Warm your Heart!

Sometimes nostalgia creeps back in the craziest of ways. This is especially true when you run a winery. Making wine comes with developing new relationships and memories, in and beyond the cellar. What makes it all worthwhile are the incredible and loyal customers who remind you of the precious moments that pave your winery’s story.

Just a couple of months ago, a visit from a lovely group dining in our Osteria totally knocked us on our feet. One of the women brought along a bottle of 2003 Syrah-Cabernet from Amador County, from Bacchus Winemaking Club. It stunned us all but mostly left us a bit confused. We all knew that the West Coast side of the Bacchus Winemaking story began in 2004. Our winemaker Dominick even came by the table and was baffled – “We bought the winery building in 2004, how could that be?”

So, we began to investigate…

Bacchus Wine Club members visiting Domenico Osteria


The Story


The woman who brought the bottle explained to us how she participated in our Domenico Group Bottling Activity, back in the Fall of 2004. It was the first Bacchus bottling ever! This was truly a foundational time for Domenico winery. Dominick’s main inspiration was to bring the traditions of Bacchus Winemaking school to California. Yet, we didn’t find our ideal winery building just yet. With winemaking running through our veins, we were determined to maintain our traditions without our own facility just yet. We were too excited to get this tradition started on the West Coast. So, we chose to produce our wines in a separate facility before we found the right place to start our winery.

This way, we could plant the seed of the Bacchus Winemaking Club and build a community around the awesome traditions that our family maintained for generations.

Our first California bottling event in 2003 was such a precious one. Having one of our first Bacchus wine club members return, with a bottle that expresses our very beginnings, made us all so emotional. Dominick couldn’t believe it, as our earliest in-house release was our 2004 vintages, which debuted on the opening day of our tasting room, on Mother’s Day in 2005.

Domenico Winemaker Domenico with 2003 Syrah-Cabernet

The Wine


So, you must be wondering – how did this 2003 Syrah-Cabernet vintage taste? You could only imagine the excitement to savor a wine that helped us build the Domenico winery and our community here in San Matteo. At 18 years old, and with storage methods a mystery, we were all pretty nervous about what this wine would taste like.

It was nothing short of great. With the true character of Domenico wines, combined with all the amazing nostalgia, nothing beats tasting one of the first bottles ever made on the West coast. The wine may have lost some fruit, which happens with 10+ years of age. But, there was no doubt the wine still held up, with all the aromatics of our history. Just a sip was all we needed to transport back to that first winemaking event that started it all for us in San Matteo.

What made us smile even more was how these women shared a true love of wine altogether. They aren’t just friends, they are a group of wine lovers, who began a Zoom wine tasting during COVID. Their tasting group led them to discover this 2003 vintage and come to the Osteria to share it with us.

Running a winery, winemaking club, and Osteria isn’t always easy. But, it’s moments like this, that remind us how wine is a time capsule of history that you can taste, savor, and share with those you love. Even more, one that brings people together, after even 18 years.

We remain totally inspired by the relationships we’ve nurtured through our winery and Osteria. We will be forever grateful for them!

If you love wine, whether it’s making it, drinking it, or all of the above, never hesitate to reach out to us. It can be for a tasting, just to chat, or to start your winemaking journey. No matter what it is, we’re always here to spread the wine love, together.

-The Domenico Family