Coombsville Dreams: The Humble Beginnings of Sciandri Family Vineyards

By Published On: November 21, 2023

Courtesy: Sciandri Family Vineyards

Ron and Roberta Sciandri were born and raised in South San Francisco, but they always dreamed of a different life. In the late 1980s, they invested in a small motel in Napa Valley with some friends. As they renovated and managed the Wine Valley Lodge, they fell in love with the region, its beauty, and its wine culture. They decided to retire in Napa Valley and find their ideal home.

After years of searching, they settled in Coombsville, a hidden gem that was not yet an official wine appellation at the time. There, they bought a 20-acre parcel of land and started their own vineyard and winery and named it Sciandri Family Vineyards.

The Sciandris planted their first Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard in 1999. The soil of Coombsville is unlike any other, with its own type called Coombs Gravely Loam. This soil, along with the cooling effect of San Pablo Bay, creates a long and gentle growing season. The wines of Coombsville have a signature character that they call “Coombsville Dirt”, which reflects the richness and diversity of the land.

For the Sciandri family, the winery is a reflection of their Italian family heritage. Their winemaking tradition goes back to their ancestors, who passed on their knowledge and passion to them. They embrace old world approaches in their winemaking process, combining them with modern technology to create a balance between heritage and innovation. They are proud of their Cabernet Sauvignons and their ability to age gracefully and reveal exceptional qualities over time.

When the 2017 Napa Valley fires destroyed their Cabernet grape harvest, the Sciandris did not give up. They turned a crisis into an opportunity, creating a new blend called “E Li”. They blended finished wines from different varieties and vintages, using their artistry to achieve a perfect balance. 

Courtesy: Sciandri Family Vineyards

The struggles of a small family farm is no secret, they deal with working in a region with a high cost of living and where land, labor, and operational costs are significant.  As a Napa Valley Verified Micro Producer, the Sciandris also have limited resources and a budget for marketing and advertising, but that does not stop them as being small has its benefits.  Small producers can focus on quality over quantity both in wine production and when it comes to customer relationships, allowing the family to create and build wonderful personal connections with their extended wine family. The Sciandris love that each club member has their own unique story to tell about how they discovered their wines and met the family. 

Coombsville is a unique wine destination in Napa Valley that offers a more intimate and relaxed experience for wine lovers. Unlike some of the more crowded and better known  AVAs in the valley, this part of Napa has a laid-back atmosphere and a diverse range of wines that reflect its cool climate and volcanic soils. Coombsville may not be as well-known to tourists as other regions, because the wine is limited in production and distribution, making them harder to find in stores and restaurants. But wine enthusiasts around the world are welcoming the discovery of wines from Coombsville, and the Sciandri family could not be happier to have their wines be a part of that budding list of great Coombsville discoveries. This part of the Napa Valley remains a hidden gem for those who seek a quieter and more authentic wine tasting adventures.

With the 2023 harvest looking positive for Sciandri Family Vineyards, they will put their focus on the future.  For now, that means continuing to be good stewards of the land so they can grow the best fruit possible in 2024 and looking for unique and fun opportunities to share their wines with current and future wine family members through visits, travel, and collaborations.

Wine Recommendations

Courtesy: Sciandri Family Vineyards

2018 ‘Nello’ Red Wine Blend- a complex and rich wine made from five different varieties, mainly Cabernet Sauvignon. Full-bodied and smooth on the palate, with hints of chocolate, coffee, and cedar followed by a long and elegant finish, and a touch of brine.

2018 Cabernet Sauvignon – has a deep ruby color and aromas of blackberry, cassis, violets, cedar, and tobacco. The palate is full-bodied and balanced, with flavors of ripe dark fruits, spice, leather, and smoke. The tannins are firm but smooth, and the finish is long and lingering. This wine is well-structured and elegant, and can age gracefully for years.

NV E Li Proprietary Red Blend- bouquet of blackberry, plum, and chocolate nuances. On the palate, it is medium-bodied, smooth, and balanced, with fine-grained tannins and refreshing acidity. Truly a one of a kind wine that can never be replicated.

2022 Rosé-  vibrant salmon color with aromas of strawberries, raspberries, and cherries. On the  palate, crisp and dry, with a balanced acidity and a smooth finish.

Republished with permission from Save the Family Farms

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 : .