When Vince Pantess was growing up in New Jersey, he and his cousins would enjoy a taste of homemade wine—diluted on account of their age—while dining with their Italian family during Sunday dinner. After his Italian forebears immigrated to the United States, they made wine in their cellars for years, laying the foundation for a tradition that pervaded Vince's childhood.
In 2005, after 20 years in the chemical and biopharmaceutical industries, Vince decided to act on his inherited passion for wine. His background in the sciences collided with classes and home experiments in horticulture—as well as an influential experience working a commercial harvest in the Santa Maria Valley—to cultivate the skill and artistry Vince needed for artisanal winemaking.
Every grape that ends up in San Vicente Cellars’ barrels comes from vineyards along the central coast—specifically Paso Robles and Santa Barbara County—that hand-farm their grapes and practice sustainable agriculture techniques. The careful collection results in a complex wine list that includes bottles of late-harvested viognier and two different syrahs that highlight the versatility of the grape: the 2009 Thompson is driven by spice, whereas a San Stefano blend takes Syrah from three vineyards for an earthy, smooth vintage with hints of raspberry.