And the award for least pretentious winery goes to….well, St. Amant – located in an old Lodi warehouse, is right up there.
If you’re looking for excellent wines minus any frill factor, Stuart Spencer, winemaker of St. Amant and his mother Barbara have you covered.
It all started in the 1970’s in Amador County when Stuart’s father and mother (Tim and Barbara) purchased 43 acres of ranchland and planted 30 acres to Zinfandel. The couple had established a small winery in the Sierra Foothills (using Barbara’s maiden name) before deciding to make a move to Lodi, regarded unofficially as the Zinfandel capital of California. In those years, Tim, who had invested in a fine wine shop, became enamored with Port and set about working with U.C. Davis in a project to plant several Portuguese varieties that were unknown to Americans but well-suited to the soils and climate of Amador. As a sideline to the family Zinfandel vineyards, California Port-style wine became the passion project for St. Amant. Being deeply involved in the Lodi wine industry, the Spencers developed many friendly relationships with Lodi Zinfandel growers – including the Fry family who farm one of the oldest and most famous vineyards in the region – Mohr Fry. Today St. Amant proudly produces two Zinfandels from these hallowed old Lodi vines in addition to their estate vineyard. Since Tim’s passing in 2006, Stuart and Barbara have persevered, producing small lot / high value wines from multiple varieties – with an emphasis on Zinfandel and Ports. Call ahead to taste a current selection of the St. Amant wines and to see the no-nonsense winery for yourself