Spot the large American flag along River Road and you have found the entrance to Pessagno Winery. Head past the entry gates and down the road to the green-roofed one-story house and tasting room. You enter through a simple door to a very large space that formerly housed winery and farm equipment. Freshly painted in Tuscan yellow and outfitted with long tasting counters.
Outside there is a BBQ area and picnic tables so don't be shy about making it your lunch stop. The working winery and farm has a lot going on.
The inspiration for Pessagno Winery is attributed to owner/winekamer Stephen Pessagno's grandfather, Anthony Escover, who introduced him to winemaking 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, and I'll never forget the enticing aroma that filled the barn during fermentation," Stephen recalls.
Since earning a degree in Enology from California State University at Fresno in 1986, Stephen has been Vice President and Winemaker for Jekel Vineyards and in 1991-2004 for Lockwood Vineyards. After leaving Lockwood Vineyard in 2004 he purchased and now operates his own winery, Pessagno Winery.
Pessagno sources grapes from vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands, Arroyo Seco, San Benito and Monterey Counties. The focus here is on making Pinot Noir. The cool vineyards in the region are a perfect match for this grape, and Pessagno takes full advantage by producing a number of offerings. There are currently seven on their list, all with subtle and not-so-subtle differences that give visitors a great opportunity to taste and compare.
Also on the tasting list are Chardonnay, Riesling, late-harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Syrah and a Port. A two-bedroom vacation rental on the property is also available to guests.