3 Steves Winery: Friendship, Resilience, and Exquisite Wines in Livermore Valley

By Published On: April 16, 2023

Credit: 3 Steves Winery

The story of 3 Steves Winery is not just about exquisite wines, but also about friendship, resilience, and a deep passion for winemaking. It all started when three men named Steve – Steve Burman, Steve Melander, and Steve Ziganti – met at a shareholder meeting for another winery they had invested in. Dissatisfied with the direction of that winery, they decided to venture out on their own and start their own label.

Despite facing challenges along the way, these three friends remained committed to their vision of producing the best possible wines. They sought guidance from seasoned winemakers in the Livermore Valley, where their estate vineyard is located. Situated on a steep hillside with soils ranging from heavy clay to gravelly loam, their six-acre vineyard benefits from the cool nights of the Livermore Valley, creating an ideal environment for wine production even during the hottest days. Their philosophy is simple- yet unwavering – grow the best grapes possible on their own vineyard and source the finest varieties from Livermore and other renowned regions. They approach every step of the winemaking process from vine to bottle with meticulous care, constantly refining their techniques and learning from their craft as humble students of the art.

One unique aspect of 3 Steves Winery is their Carmenere from Chile. In 2014, their good friend Alphonse DeRose, owner of DeRose Vineyards, offered them the opportunity to make wine in Chile. At that time, with 3 Steves still growing and unable to meet demand, the offer was too good to resist. Since then, visiting Chile has become a staple for them, and they have enjoyed sharing unique wines such as the Carmenere and being part of the winemaking culture that makes Chile so special.

Credit: 3 Steves Winery

The winery follows a selective approach in deciding which blends to make each year, based on the vintage and the quality of the fruit they receive. In 2018, their Three Brunettes and Three Red Heads red blends made a comeback, leading to the resurrection of the Three Blondes. This time, they decided to steer the blend towards its Italian roots, using an elongated skin time before pressing and neutral barrel aging, resulting in a unique and exciting wine that the winery is eager to release in the spring.

During the pandemic, when the world was grappling with the challenges of being confined indoors, they found inspiration in their own “cabin fever”. As they experimented with various blends, trying to create a wine that would capture their collective palate, it was a shot in the dark combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and a a medley of rare 1 percent and ½ percent additions that unanimously stole their hearts. The result was a unique and exquisite blend that perfectly embodied the spirit of resilience and creativity that prevailed during those trying times.  The name “Cab’n Fever” pays homage to the struggles faced during the pandemic.

Livermore Valley wine region has a rich history that has played a significant role in the development of the California wine industry. Despite being overlooked for years, the region is experiencing a resurgence thanks to increased education and information about its wines. What truly sets Livermore apart, however, are its people. The winemakers in Livermore are approachable and foster a strong sense of community, with a focus on enjoying world-class wine in the company of family.

Visitors can easily access the Livermore Valley wine region via public transportation or a short 45-minute drive/Uber from almost every major Bay Area city. It’s not just about the wine, but also about the warmth and camaraderie of the winemakers and the sense of community that makes Livermore Valley a truly special wine destination. At 3 Steves Winery, friendship, resilience, and a passion for crafting exceptional wines are at the heart of their story, and they invite wine lovers to join them on this journey.

The wines featured in the Wine Recommendations section were provided by the winery for the purpose of review.  The selection and tasting of these wines were independently conducted. No compensation  or incentives were provided for inclusion in the story. As always, the top priority is to provide readers with informative reporting.

Wine Recommendations

Credit: 3 Steves Winery

2019 “Cab’n Fever” – this wine exudes a beautifully crafted flavor profile, with a bouquet that showcases ripe raspberry, juicy plum, and succulent boysenberry notes. These fruit scents interweave with a nuanced hint of licorice, adding a layer of depth and sophistication to the wine. Underscored  by firm and well-structured tannins, the finish is enduring and lingering, offering a long-lasting and satisfying sensation.

2019 “Three Cabs”- greeted with a burst of flavors, dominated by luscious red cherries and zesty cranberries, lending a bright and vibrant character to the wine. The touch of spice adds a tantalizing complexity, further enhancing the tasting experience. The wine’s acidity is refreshing, providing a lively mouthfeel that enlivens the senses and leaves you craving for another sip. The Cabernet Pfeffer blend, which has a dash of Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc, is a true gem that captivates the senses.

2022 “Three Blondes” White Blend -a tantalizing composition of 80% Pinot Blanc, 15% Pinot Grigio, and 5% Chardonnay, crafted to perfection. On the palate, this delectable blend unfurls with the vivacious flavors of ripe apricot and succulent melon, interlaced with a subtle spice that gradually builds up towards the invigorating finish. The sweetness of this wine is certain to make you dream about the enchanting summer plans that await you.

2018 Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley- hails from the illustrious Dry Creek Valley, specifically sourced from the prestigious Saini Vineyards nestled in charming Healdsburg. Drenched  in a melange of succulent blackberry, raspberry, and plum notes, this wine boasts a full-bodied, robust character. The finish, tantalizingly lengthy and gratifying, features delicate nuances of vanilla and spice.

About the Author: Joe Campbell

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Located out of the Sierra Foothills of California, Joe Campbell provides color commentary as well as insight within the wine industry both from the lifestyle consumer and business segments of the industry. He can be reached via email at : joe@winebulletin.net .