Interview: Trini Amador IV, Gracianna Winery
Does it seem as though every entrepreneur's success story started in their garage?
There are so many great stories of successful businesses that were born from the dimly lit, sometimes dusty comforts of the home-based laboratory.
I would like to officially add Gracianna Winery
to this growing list of successful enterprises.
It was not all that long ago that Trinidad Amador IV (Trini), winemaker for Gracianna Winery
, was expressing his independence in the comforts of his Forestville, CA garage using raw product from the agriculturally robust Russian River Valley AVA and dabbling in what so many in the region have already perfected - winemaking.
I recently secured some quality time with Gracianna's winemaker, touted as an up and comer, but you will come to realize, as I have, that Trini Amador
has already arrived.
In this article I will share with you the Gracianna story and how the passion of a local boy turned winemaker and his
family have built a winery rooted deeply by values of grace, graciousness, and gratitude.
rests in the heart of the Russian River Valley, nestled along the "miracle mile" on Westside Road.
The Amador Family - Trini
sister and his
parents - are Gracianna
, quite literally, as they are the team that fulfill the operations of the winery.
At the center of this and every winery is the winemaker of course.
, son of Trinidad and Lisa Amador, grew up in Forestville, CA just west of Santa Rosa merely a stone's throw from Westside Road.
Being a local and having grown up in the Russian River Valley surrounded in every direction by wineries, vineyards, and the agricultural epicenter for the wine industry, Trini
was determined to carve out his
career path as a winemaker.
In order to achieve this goal Trini enrolled at Oregon State University
to study Applied Agriculture.
During his college years and shortly thereafter Trini worked in various capacities in the wine industry starting first with internships with Williams Selyem (winemaking) and Gallo Family Vineyards (vineyard management).
Eventually, these experiences compelled Trini
to embark on a career that beset both vineyard management and winemaking.
These distinctly different winery and vineyard experiences helped fulfill his
initial objective which was to learn the wine business.
With this combination of experience and education he
was ready to bring to life his
In 2005, with the support of his family, who not only serve as business partners but as his inspiration for building a successful winery, Trini and his family launched Gracianna Winery.
In Sonoma County you either work in the wine business or someone in your family works in the wine business.
This region is synonymous with hard work, pride, and the pursuance of a lifestyle that shows appreciation for what one has.
This culture provides the perfect backdrop for Trini
Most of us wine lovers believe that wine is a medium for cultural expression or an artful presentation of the values of those that cultivated the grapes and produced the wine.
I asked Trini
subscribes to this belief and how he
would describe his
Without hesitation he
agreement with this and added that Gracianna
is about sharing gratitude and appreciation for all of the blessings in life.
The wines he
creates are a strict representation of this vision and each varietal is designed specifically to capture the very best of the RRV.
I pressed Trini
choice of varietals for Gracianna
which include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.
further endorsed his
vision for prescribed winemaking and stated that these varietals offer the greatest opportunity to produce the results he
Russian River Valley famously produces outstanding Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel fruit but this alone does not make a great wine.
devises a plan for each varietal more than a year before production carefully identifying the components he
wants to emphasize in each vintage.
Zinfandel provides him with a bold yet versatile option while Pinot Noir requires precision and finesse.
Chardonnay, some of which he
sources from the Green Valley in RRV, gives him an exciting change of pace and another opportunity to represent his
went on to add that he
is not consumed with achieving commercial growth and is more interested remaining focused on making great wines.
I have heard that he
is considered an up and coming winemaker so I asked him when he
will know he
response is what made me most appreciative for this interview.
personal success is measured only by his
ability to sustain his
career in the business of his
dreams, by growing grapes, producing great wines, and meeting a variety of self imposed challenges along the way.
Upon speaking with Trini
, it is quite easy to gauge his
level of appreciation for the life he
humble perspective, and his
passion to embrace local tradition as his
Furthermore, and maybe most importantly, for this is what Gracianna
is founded upon, he
attributes many of these values to his
family and without their support he
could not embark on the pursuance of his
I learned a great deal about the personalized nature of winemaking but much more about the deeper significance the wine industry represents to the people of Sonoma beyond the obvious economic implications.
It is this appreciation that Gracianna
represents and Trini Amador
has everything to do with this.