Gary Caraccioli of Caraccioli Cellars grew up working on his family’s farm in the Salinas valley at the foot of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Gary and his brother, Phil, spent many hours as childred watching their Swiss-Italian grandfather labor with love over his home grown, homemade wine. Wine with dinner was truly an integral part of their heritage. As a result, Gary grew up with the belief that wine is not just a beverage, but rather an experience.
In 2006, Gary Caraccioli enticed his Uncle Jim and brother Phil to expand their agricultural roots into the wine business, with the idea that they would make an exclusive and original wine that was not being produced anywhere else in the area. His goal was to develop a sophisticated and complex sparking wine specific to the Santa Lucia Highlands.
When Gary met two men by the names of Michel Salgues and Joe Rawitzer, that plan was set into motion. Salgues, who was born and raised in France; and Rawitzer, a Monterey County native of Swiss-Italian decent, have views of wine that aligned with Gary’s from the very beginning. Their belief as a team became to enhance the consumer’s experience through the best grapes and most stringent procedures possible, not only in still wines but also in sparkling. Today, Caraccioli Cellars are a bubbles brand first and foremost, producing amazing Brut and Brut Rose sparkling wine varietals as well as two delicious still wines, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
A family affair from the beginning, the fourth generation of the Caraccioli family has joined the founders in their venture. In fact, Gary’s son is head of marketing, overseeing day-to-day operations. In between running a thriving winery, guests often see the Caraccioli family members popping in and out of the tasting room or even just stopping to say “hello” to consumers on the city streets. Scott Caraccioli is often found heading to a meeting in Carmel or Monterey, where he sits in executive positions on boards for several organizations such as the Monterey County Vinters and Growers Association, the Carmel Chamber of Commerce and the Carmel Wine Walk.
Caraccioli wines have been described as “Old World” with deep roots, which is no surprise coming from this old world family. Their passion for the art of winemaking is very clear. Although they do not fit the mold of a traditional “bubble house,” they offer award-winning vintage domestic sparkling wines that are made start to finish on-premise. Take a moment to get to know these offerings, as they are just perfect for Arizona summers.
A Santa Lucia Highlands sparkling wine, the Brut Cuvee is composed of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir and offers a smooth yeasty nose. Our sparkling wines are always a méthode champenoise vintage product. The consistency of the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the Highlands makes it possible to deliver these distinct bubbles dependably year after year.
The ’07 Brut Cuvee was awarded a silver medal in the 2014 Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships (CSWWC), one of the three Silver’s awarded to the USA in 2014.
A vintage small batch méthode champenoise sparkling wine that delivers integrated, and long lasting refined fruit with a light pinkish hue. Our Brut Rosé undergoes the same processes and initial blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir, as our Brut Cuvee. The point of distinction lies in Michel’s hand choosing of a barrel of Pinot Noir to blend with the Brut Cuvee resulting in a truly elegant Rosé that can best be described as our Brut Cuvee with a soft fuller fruit component.
The ’06 Brut Rosé won both Best USA Rosé as well as a gold medal in the 2014 Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships (CSWWC). Their ’07 Brut Rosé also competed, winning a gold medal, one of the four Gold awarded to the USA in 2014.
To read more about the wines of Caraccioli Cellars, including their (also incredible) Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, visit their website by clicking here.