"Wine Mic Monday" is a VAULT29 series based on an "open mic concept" where wineries take over our blog...because every glass and bottle of wine has a story. Last week (Season 1: part 3), we recapped stories shared by wineries from the Central Coast. In Season 1: part 2, we took a look back at our stories from Sonoma County and in Season 1: part 1, we revisited Napa Valley experiences.

This week is the forth and final recap of Season 1 where we look back at family owned and operated wineries in California. Get to know Trombetta: A mother/daughter duo; Esterlina: The largest African American owned/operated family winery; Stomping Girl: An Israeli husband/wife team; and Hardball Cellars: A family's love for baseball and wine.

A Mother/Daughter Duo

It's pretty unusual to find a mother/daughter duo in the wine industry. Meet Rickey Trombetta Randcliff and Erica Randcliff: the duo who turned a home winemaking venture into a commercial endeavor with the release of their 2010 Gap's Crown (Sonoma Coast AVA)  Pinot Noir. At the start of the venture, Rickey was a home winemaker with a "learn-by-doing" approach in the vineyards. As things progressed, Trombetta eventually collaborated with California's famed winemaker, Paul Hobbs. Today, you can find Rickey tending to Trombetta's marketing, sales, and office needs, while Erica focuses on the wine production side of the business. With three Gap's Crown pinot noir vintages now under their belt, they've recently checked off one of their long term goals: adding a chardonnay to Trombetta's portfolio. Get to know more about this award-winning duo and find out what wine influenced Erica to become a winemaker.  Read more.


Largest African American Owned/Operated Winery in the US

Meet the Sterling Family: growers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties who later established their own family winery operation in 2001.  As California farmers & winemakers for 3 generations, the Sterlings have pooled their collective talents and experience from farming, medicine, law and business to drive the successful family wine enterprise. Today, Esterlina Vineyards & Winery is the largest African American owned family vineyards and winery operation in the U.S. They produce award-winning wines with international demand and recognition from their facilities in Sonoma County. Esterlina wines have been featured on White House Menus with President Bush in 2005 and 2008, and specifically requested for President Obama’s Inauguration celebrations in 2009 along with numerous industry accolades. Read more about this gem of a family.


Israel Tradition, Husband/Wife Duo

Stomping Girl Wines was founded in honor of Uzi Cohen's grandmother, who began a family winemaking tradition in Israel. Back then, Uzi was recruited to help pick the grapes during harvest on the family's vineyard property, while his younger sister helped with foot stomping. Two generations later, in 2003, Uzi and his wife, Kathryn, carried on the tradition and began making wine in their home wine cellar in Berkeley, CA, and enlisting the help of friends and their three children. Today, they are dedicated to producing vineyard designate pinot noir and chardonnay using traditional, minimalist techniques influenced by time spent in Burgundy. In addition to their emphasis on vineyard designate wines coming from family-owned, sustainably-grown vineyards, they also deliver the same top-quality pinot noir in stainless steel kegs for restaurant by-the-glass programs. Read more about this dynamic duo...


A Family's Passion For Wine + Baseball

For the Westerberg family, the passion for wine, baseball and family combine for an unbeatable combo in Hardball Cellars! Mike and Cindy are transplants from Oregon and were raised by hard working families in the Willamette Valley. In the mid 1980’s, they followed their family to Napa where they planted roots and fell in love with the Northern California wine country. Their "Coaches" who influenced their passion for wine was none other than their parents and grandparents who made wine for well over 50 years in Oregon. In the "Rookie Years," Mike spotted an ad in the Napa Register for some u-pick Zinfandel fruit on Glass Mountain Road in St. Helena. He grabbed garbage cans and took his kids along for the ride to the vineyard. Hardball Cellars has an exceptional line up of Napa cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir and chardonnay. Get to know their "Game Plan", "The X and O's" of winemaking, the "Five Tool Player"and more! Read more..