In an industry that demands dedication and passion, it’s common to see multi-generation families working together, blending their love for wine with the joy of working alongside one another. Several of these inspiring families are on SOMM TV, offering viewers a glimpse into their remarkable journeys.
From tending to vineyards under the scorching sun to meticulously crafting the perfect blend, the challenges and triumphs of these father-child duos are a testament to the power of familial bonds. Through late nights of tasting sessions and countless discussions on varietals, they have found a way to harmoniously blend their roles as family members and business partners.
Whether it’s a father passing down generations of winemaking knowledge or a daughter infusing fresh perspectives into traditional practices, their stories offer a captivating insight into the world of family winemaking.
Château Lafite Rothschild
With a rich legacy spanning centuries, the Rothschilds have been synonymous with exceptional wines and a commitment to quality. Baron Eric de Rothschild, following in the footsteps of his ancestors, dedicated his life to crafting extraordinary wines at Château Lafite Rothschild. For decades, he upheld the family’s esteemed reputation until 2018, when he passed the baton to his daughter, Saskia Rothschild.
Saskia’s ascent to the helm marked an exciting new chapter for Lafite Rothschild. Her dedication to excellence has garnered acclaim and recognition within the wine industry. As a result, Lafite Rothschild continues to produce exceptional wines that seamlessly marry tradition and innovation, securing their esteemed position in the world of winemaking.
In SOMM TV’s Verticals: Lafite Rothschild, Eric and Saskia speak openly about her education and the skills she utilizes as the head of Lafite Rothschild.
The history of Martinelli wines in Sonoma is steeped in a rich tapestry of family heritage and winemaking excellence. It all began when Italian immigrant Giuseppe Martinelli purchased a small plot of land in the Russian River Valley in 1887. Little did he know that this humble acquisition would lay the foundation for a winemaking legacy that spans generations.
Giuseppe planted the first vineyard, Zinfandel and Muscat of Alexandria vines, on a 60-degree slope, later known as the Jackass Hill vineyard. As the years passed, the Martinelli family expanded their holdings, acquiring additional vineyards throughout the region.
Lee Martinelli Sr., Giuseppe’s grandson, took the reins of the family business in the 1970s. Today, Lee Sr.’s children, Lee Martinelli Jr., George Martinelli, and Julianna Martinelli, all play integral roles in the winery’s day-to-day operations.
In the Verticals S2: Martinelli, Julianna tastes a bottle of 1936 Zinfandel with her daughter, Tessa Gorsuch. Together, they speak to the property’s history and growing up through a multi-generation business.
Carlo and Dante Mondavi come from a prestigious winemaking lineage in Napa Valley. They are the sons of renowned winemaker Tim Mondavi and grandsons of wine industry icon Robert Mondavi.
Carlo and Dante, having grown up immersed in the world of wine, were deeply influenced by their family’s winemaking legacy. The brothers learned the intricacies of winemaking from an early age, nurturing a profound connection to the craft.
In 2013, Carlo and Dante embarked on their own winemaking journey, establishing RAEN wines in Sonoma. While RAEN represents their independent venture, the Mondavi family heritage undoubtedly shaped their approach to winemaking.
Smith-Madrone is a renowned Napa Valley winery founded by Stuart Smith in 1971. His brother Charles, who serves as winemaker, joined him in 1973.
Located on the picturesque slopes of Spring Mountain, the estate vineyards range in elevation, from 1,300 to 2,000 feet, with steep slopes reaching up to 19 degrees. While Cabernet Sauvignon is king in Napa, the brothers pride themselves on their Riesling, planted in 1972.
With Smith-Madrone now in its sixth decade of winemaking, Stuart’s son Sam joined the duo after graduating from UC Santa Barbara and traveling the world. His journeys took him from Washington State, Australia, New Zealand, and Germany before settling back in Napa.
In Behind the Glass: Smith-Madrone, the three family members taste together, while Sam shares his surprise in ending up at Smith-Madrone.
Tara Gomez isn’t a descendant of previous winemakers, but her connection to wine is still rooted in family. As a child, her parents took her wine tasting along the Central Coast, igniting her passion for science and later pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Enology from Cal State University Fresno.
After graduating, Tara worked at various wineries, including Fess Parker and J. Lohr. During this time, she also started her own label, Kalawashaq’ Wine Cellars. However, Tara put Kalawashaq’ on hold to explore the world, working two harvests at Castell d’Encus in Spain, where she crossed paths with winemaker and future wife Mireia.
Upon returning to California in 2010, Tara discovered that her Chumash Tribe had purchased Camp 4 Vineyard. That led her to establish Kitá Wines, a small premium winery in the Santa Ynez Valley, where she served as winemaker until its doors closed in 2022. At the same time, in 2017, Tara joined forces with Mireia to create Camins 2 Dreams.
In Verticals S2: Tara Gomez, Tara and her father share how the notion of family extends to her Chumash heritage and how tribal support was integral to her journey into wine.