F. Teldeschi: A History of Zinfandel in the Dry Creek Valley

By Published On: November 3, 2022

In 1993, F. Teldeschi was established by Dan Teldeschi in 1993. The winery is a combination of the rich Teldeschi grape growing history that dates back to the turn of the 20th century when his father, Michele emigrated to Dry Creek, in Sonoma County, from Italy, providing a more modern spin on winemaking today.

 In 1923, Dan’s grandfather, Frank Teldeschi, was born.  At the age of 14, he would leave school to start working in the Dry Creek – growing grapes was in his blood. Shortly after World War II, along with his brother Lorenzo, they purchased a ranch and started growing grapes. As Frank expanded, they established early relationships with the likes of  E. & J. Gallo Winery and Ravenswood Winery.

Credit: Wine Routes/F.Teldeschi

Over the next 40 years, Frank would acquire several ranches and establish multiple vineyards, which today is made up of 75 acres of planted grapes.  The vineyards are spread out over five parcels as the home ranch has blocks of Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel and Petite Sirah that are 110 years old. The property sits 50 to 60 feet off of the valley floor. Within Dry Creek Valley, varieties that thrive tend to be able to handle the long warm summer days.

From a winemaking perspective, Dan honors the teachings of his family while utilizing modern approaches to make versatile and food friendly wines as he has no interest in making cocktail wines– fruit forward incantations that do not have much tannin or acid.  To get full-bodied red wines that are age worthy, F. Teldeschi Wines uses primarily four varieties to blend into production– Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane and Valdiguie.  “The first three have been grown here in Dry Creek since the 1880’s. We have a certain percentage of each at Dan’s formula in the wines produced at F. Teldeschi,” said Gary Finch, business partner at F. Teldeschi Wines.

Courtesy Wine Routes/F. Teldeschi

The Dry Creek Valley is the smallest appellation in Sonoma County at two miles wide and eleven miles across. The climate is interesting in that the wind blows from two different directions. In the Spring when it blows from the south, it brings in the marine layer providing a cooling layer while in the summer high daytime temperatures often exceed 100 degrees followed by a coastal breeze and chillier nights resulting in complex wines with nice tannin structures that retain acid.  Frank used to say that the Dry Creek Valley is the chosen land to grow the best Zinfandel on the entire planet.

When customers come to visit F. Teldeschi Dry Creek Road Winery, they will often get to taste older vintages going back as far as 20 plus years.  Unlike other Sonoma wineries, they will not release a wine until it is ready to be consumed, which in a few cases could be ten years in barrel. “This is our personal touch to provide a great wine and share information– from the grape vine to the glass. At the end of the day, our wines are for-you wines, everyday,” said Gary.

Originally appearing in the Wine Routes Blog. To book a reservation today please visit their page at:


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 .