Skip to content

16 Million Cases of California Wine From One California Winemaker

When you sell 16 million cases of California wine each year, do you really need a tasting room? Delicato Family Wines still maintains one.

Most wineries we visit sell 500 cases to 3k cases of California wine per year. This winery is selling millions of cases of California wine yearly. It’s a tribute to the Delicato Family, owners of the fifth largest wine maker in the United States, when they still host a wine tasting room. Good for them.

The wine tasting room, administration and production facility sprawls west from Highway 99 in Manteca, California just south of Lodi. But their wine comes from as far south as the Santa Barbara’s Santa Lucia Highlands to Napa Valley to the north of San Francisco. Lodi and Central Valley grapes are a big contributor to their wine output.

The family’s patriarch Gaspare Indelicato planted his first grape in 1924 after emigrating from Sicily, Italy. Family members have run the company since then and populate the board of directors today.

Tasting wine here is quite a bit less lavish than most wineries. Their tasting area doubles as a well-manicured retail sales facility. Merchandising here is professional and clean. During our visit, there were two hosts pouring, stocking, wheeling out cases of club member wine, and transacting at the point-of-sale system. They were spread thinly trying to keep up with guests tasting, buying, picking up, coming, and going.

You have a choice of four flights: a red flight, the combo flight, a white flight, and the sweet flight with a tasting fee of $5: four wines per flight. Wines we sampled were non-vintage.

With busy wine hosts, we didn’t expect a lot of TLC. Our pour was a sample glass of wine with three plastic cups, each holding our next sample. When we finished our glass of wine, we poured ourselves the next wine in the flight. Very self-serve.

Our host Emma was brand new. In fact, she had only recently crossed the bar to reach the legal drinking age, so she wasn’t well-versed in wines. We asked several questions, and she struggled with answers but was gracious enough to research the information we requested.

Here is our tasting:

Gnarly Head Chardonnay $11 ✰

Diora La Petite Grace Pinot Noir $26-✰

Diora Three Crowns Syrah $40 ✰

1924 Whiskey Barrel-Aged Red Blend $15 ✰+

On a lark we also purchased one of their 3 liter Bota Box wines, a low carbohydrate Chardonnay with 80 calories, 3g carbs and 8.5% alcohol per serving. It tasted like a reasonable Chardonnay and came in at $18 retail, $6 per liter.

We always tell people, “The best wine in the world is the wine you like.” Delicato’s wines are drinkable with friendly price points. They’re also offering alternative containers which the industry needs to expand market share. They package wine in a 3 liter Bota Box and the smaller 500ml Bota Mini for a three glass serving of wine.

For these efforts, and for keeping an active tasting room while creating 16 million cases yearly, we salute them. Stop by for a visit while traversing California’s Highway 99.

Some notes on our wine ranking system.

Bill & Erin Hodge write about California Wine, the estates & winemakers producing them and educational information about Vino. Living in California Wine Country provides a front row seat to the places you want to visit the most here in the Golden State.

– -✰  means -What’s next on your list of wines
-✰  means -Not liking it too much
✰ means  -We’ll drink this wine, especially if it’s hosted!
✰+ means -You’ve got our attention and we might buy this wine.
✰+ + means -We’re hooked and we’re going to buy this wine.
When you see -✰/✰+  with a slash, it means we disagree.

%d bloggers like this: