Pessagno Winery fulfills the 20-year dream of Winemaker Stephen Pessagno to produce limited quantities of exclusive luxury wines from prestigious single vineyards throughout Monterey and San Benito Counties.
Stephen says he was first inspired to make wine when his grandfather introduced him to the craft on the family’s Santa Clara Valley ranch in 1974. “How vividly I remember crushing overripe Zinfandel grapes—stems and all—into 500 gallon redwood tanks,” Stephen smiles. “I’ll never forget the enticing aroma that filled the barn during fermentation.”
During a successful career as a mechanical engineer, his interest in making wine continued to grow. In 1982, he decided to experience winemaking from the ground up and signed on to work the crush at Kirigin Cellars in Gilroy. He then earned a degree in enology from California State University at Fresno in 1986, and officially launched his career in winemaking. After working as vice president and winemaker for Jekel Vineyards and then Lockwood Vineyards, where he worked for 13 years, Stephen and two of his closest friends decided to start a winery. The three founding partners formed what would become Pessagno Winery in January 1999.
With the 1999 vintage, Stephen’s desire to showcase his own wines was finally realized with the first harvest for Pessagno Winery. His knowledge and experience have been applied to produce extremely limited-edition wines of distinction, character, and elegance. “After all these years of winemaking, I’m able to make small lots of handcrafted wines that my grandfather introduced to me,” Stephen says.
Pessagno Winery is located along the River Road wine trail, just an easy country drive from the towns of Monterey and Carmelby-the-Sea. Wine tourers are encouraged to bring a picnic and their sense of humor, because Stephen, his sons, and Tasting Room Manager Robin Dodd are all gracious hosts. One or more of them will be there, eager to engage in conversation, laughter, and the exceptional wines of Pessagno Winery.