Starting in the early 1980s, the property was slowly planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, representing one of the very first plantings of these two varietals in the hills south of Sebastopol. The southern facing slopes help to form the northern boundary of the Petaluma Gap, the main artery for the cooling marine winds blowing inland from the Pacific Ocean.
Our Chardonnay, from an older block of Clone 4, benefits both from its sunny southern exposure and the influence of cool, marine air, creating wines of intense flavor and bright acidity.
After many years in New York on the sales marketing side of wine and spirits, and one too many frustrations about how great vineyards were being homogenized by big corporations, Chris headed west to make great wines with character. Having worked with many well-known luxury brands and some of the top restaurants in the world, Chris was eager to combine his business expertise, entrepreneurial spirit, and love of wine. Creating a winery in the Russian River Valley that focuses on the fruit and the land, C. Donatiello Winery shows the delicate balance between the character of the land and the skill of the winemaker.
Chris enjoys the challenge of working with classic varietals to evoke a powerful sense of place. Using traditional methods and modern equipment, his goal with C. Donatiello Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is to deliver an experience that is vivid, individualistic, and memorable. In doing so, he’s creating wine that exemplifies both the Russian River Valley, and the man behind the name.
At C. Donatiello, Chris works to craft wines that are representative of their terroir and that are a joy to drink. They do this by spending long hours in the vineyards and treating the grapes with care and respect. Chris particularly loves making Russian River Valley wines because of both their esteemed history and bright fresh palate. He has tremendous aging potential of the wines from the region.