Cool guy, indeed. Always helpful, always gracious, not afraid to get his hands dirty! (I have a fixation about people who are willing to get down and dirty...we'll talk about this later) Anyhoo, Howard is one half of he and brother Gary's secret little place in the middle of nowhere, U.S.A!
It really isn't that bad of a location. Deborah Lynn told us about some of the people who come there on blind dates and wonder if they have found the correct location!
Seriously though, while driving down Florin Rd. in Sacramento county, if you blink, or cross the railroad tracks, you will miss this little piece of old world Italian charm!
To get to Frasinetti, drive east on Florin Rd. until you get to the town of, "Florin." Yes, Sacramentan's, there is a town called "Florin," and it is not too far away from the town of "Sheldon," which is located nearby the town of "Wilton" not too far from Elk Grove. Hard to believe that there was once a bustling community of agriculture and cattle ranching in this area. Remnants of old farms where the precarious skeleton of a tractor lay untouched for decades dot the landscape of Florin Rd. I have often wondered why these derelict artifacts are left to rust in open view. Perhaps the cost to remove them is too high or maybe absentee landowners do not know that they exist. No problem, I have just found my next photo project.
Forgive the digressions please. The poster child for A.D.D is always looking for new subjects to photograph. Uh, where was I? Oh yes, Getting to Frasinetti.
The winery is located on, you guessed it, Frasinetti Road. I wasn't joking about the railroad tracks nearly running through the facility. Having photographed 25 or more weddings here, I have witnessed more than one toast to the bride and groom being drowned out by the roar of an oncoming train. At a few weddings, the thunderous vibrations of an approaching freight train have unsettled a few glasses of champagne.
All accurate and honest descriptions aside, this is only one of the unique characteristics of this winery. The others involve the history and the people who today make this place a must visit on your bucket list.
When you get to the end of the road...
Drive south on Frasinetti Road, and where the road dead ends...no pun intended, you have arrived! At one time, the Frasinetti family grew more than 400 acres of grapes in the area. Patriarch James Frasinetti had a vision for producing wines that were reminiscent of his "old world"italian lineage. The winery was built in 1897, and is now one of the oldest still family owned wineries in California.
Come on in, the wine is fine...
When I visit a winery, my biggest expectation is to be treated well...or at least treated like I exist. I cannot accept bad customer service on any level. Dismissive attitudes, blatantly ignoring my presence and speaking to me as if I do not know that the Puligny-Montrachet region of France produces some of the finest burgundies this side of the Mason Dixon line will get you in deep doo-doo with me. In short, treat me like the Baroness de Rotchild...or your favorite cousin from the bayou.
And this is exactly how my cousin Sojo and I were treated...like family.
We entered the small, warmly lit tasting room/gift shop and were greeted as if we were two cousins from down south by Deborah Lynn. No pretentious, sterile "welcome to Frasinetti" from this lady. Our greeting was more like a "HOWDY" ala Minnie Pearl from Hee-Haw, and "How are you ladies this afternoon?" On a closer observation, Deborah Lynn looked as if she was "fixin'" us a taste as she beckoned us to the counter.
Feeling like we were at home, Deborah Lynn proceeded to pour on the charm and the wine. Beginning with a white blend...I usually never drink white wine, but I'm open to trying most anything, we were introduced to Cerasolo.
This Italian blend was awesome! Kind of pinky and full, this would be a perfect summer wine to compliment anything from barbecue to salami sandwiches. Not a fan of pink wine either, but who cares, it was very good.
Deborah Lynn then proceeded to advise us on what to taste next. Her enthusiasm for her job was infectious, and I was impressed at how well she multi-tasked with us and with other customers. She never stopped smiling, and she was full of good natured information about the history of the winery and her preference for certain wines.
|"I put them in my martini's!"|
Because I have worked in the tasting room of more than one winery, people skills are more important than wine knowledge. Wine knowledge can be gleaned from a book. People skills is an art. I look for characteristics in Vinista's and Vinisto's, (No, these titles are made up, I know, I made them up), that remind me of...me. One of my claim to fames was an ability to blend wines at the tasting room counter. (I know, this is not an acceptable practice, but hey, serve them, and they will return...and in some cases buy each of the wines you mixed together.) I would limit my "blending" expertise to the sparkling wines and usually something sweet like a muscat or a port. (Think Champortini!)
Deborah Lynn was equally talented in this genre by "mixing" some of this and that into our sparkling wines to customize our taste preference. (They provide two different sparkling wines from Lodi) She made me proud; whatever she mixed with the almond sparkler worked. (I should have asked what she mixed...guess you'll have to visit to find out.) We rebels ROCK! However, not to be outdone, she introduced us to Kendra...Mulling Wine Extraordinaire.
Kendra was as friendly and professional as Deborah Lynn. I appreciated her dry sense of humor and her knowledge of people. She made us feel like first cousins! Having never seen a "mulling" wine kit, Kendra excitedly explained the process to us.
This is what I'm talking about! Teach me something new, and I will be your student for life! Break a few rules in the process, and we will get along just fine.
After our lesson in "mulling," Sojo and I took a stroll around the gift shop...all 700 square feet of it. Packed to the corners with really cool items, we both said that we needed to return on another day to shop.
|Something for everyone!|
I cannot say enough good things about Frasinetti Winery. Is it an upscale, pretentious winery with over priced, palate challenging wines, no, and I do not believe that the winery was ever meant to be this way. What Sojo and I both agree on is that customer service is tantamount to whether we visit a winery again or decide not to. We have both been to wineries where the wines were stellar, but the service sucked! We know from firsthand experience that treating a customer well, even if the wines are not that great...and yes, the Frasinetti Chianti, Cerasolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and...wait for it...Merlot, yes, I said it, Merlot, were good, the customer is more than likely to come back or refer others to the winery. In short, the likelihood of bad press is minimized.
To sum up the visit to Frasinetti Winery, I give it two slaps upside the head, (that's a good thing) and a big thank you to Howard and Gary Frasinetti for keeping the passion of their grandfather alive. As for Deborah Lynn and Kendra, you were both awesome! Keep doing you.