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VJB Vineyards & Cellars | Wine Country This Week Magazine Wineries, Wine Tasting, Wine Tasting Maps Fri, 02/15/2008February 16th & 17th Tasting Room of the Week: VJB VINEYARDS & CELLARS by Millie Howie “There is a lot of fine wine being made out there,” says Henry Belmonte, co-owner with his father Vittorio, of VJB Vineyards & Cellars in Kenwood. “And we’re proud to be one of those producers. Yet, I blush when I think how well we have been doing since we opened the tasting room in 2003.” There is, however, no need for Henry’s extreme modesty. Vittorio grew up in southern Italy helping his dad and his older brother tend the family vineyards and make the family wine. Several of the Italian grape varieties he remembers from those boyhood days are now growing in the VJB estate vineyards, introducing visitors to the fine flavors of traditional Italian wines. The tasting room, though small, exudes a warm feeling of welcome, as if each guest were a family member returning after an absence. “Everything we do,” comments Henry, “has a very personal touch,. When my parents arrived in the United States they spent their first 12 years in Boston then, because they wanted to live somewhere more reminiscent of their homeland, they moved to the Sonoma Valley where Top Quality Low Converse Blue Red Casual Shoes the rolling hills reminded them of Vittorio’s hometown of Bonito in southern Italy. The site spurred in them a strong desire to share the many unique tastes of their background with others, and they soon established a popular family restaurant. Next, the two brothers, Henry and Victor dreamed of producing premium wines under the family name. In 2000, young Victor unexpectedly died and the family now honors his memory by devoting their energies into growing wine grapes and making distinguished wines bearing a label utilizing Victor’s initials, VJB. The wines are sold exclusively in the tasting room and to members of the recently formed Club Enoteca.


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Also available is a full line of sauces made from Maria’s own recipes, and uses for the sauces are highlighted in her new cookbook “Cucinare Con Amore.” Other beverages served in the tasting room are even more unlikely to be found sharing the tasting bar with Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese, but on a cold morning they can be even more delightful. Those drinks are specialty coffees, and a friendly group of local residents appears at six each morning, to be greeted by name and a big smile by Vittorio. Excitement is high now at the little gathering spot as the family breaks ground for a new building which by harvest time 2009 will be home to the tasting room, the Marketplace and the Cellar Building for hosting events. The VJB Vineyards & Cellars tasting room is at 9077 Hwy. 12 in Kenwood, is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More of the family history is related online at . Now That’s Amore at VJB Vineyards & Cellars …featuring the award-winning Italian varietals paired with Executive Chef Maria Belmonte’s famous lasagna. Featured wines: Prosecco, Barbera, Sangiovese, Primitivo, VJB’s Signature Super Tuscan Dante, Barbera Port For more information: (707) 833-2300

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