Cline Cellars, located in the Carneros region of Sonoma, is owned and operated by Fred and Nancy Cline. Established in 1982, Cline produces rich, intense Zinfandels and distinctive Rhône-style wines for which it has garnered enormous acclaim. The tasting room is located in a charming 1850s farmhouse surrounded by a wrap-around porch, spring-fed ponds, beautifully landscaped gardens, picnic areas, an Avian collection and the California Missions Museum.
Fred Cline’s maternal grandfather, Valeriano Jacuzzi of pump and spa fame, called Oakley home. On summer visits to his grandparents, Fred learned both the love of agricultural life and the mysteries of vinifying grapes into wine. This love led Fred to obtain a degree in Agriculture Science and Management from U.C. Davis.
In 1982, with an inheritance from his grandfather, Fred founded Cline Cellars near Oakley, California. Here, he preserved and restored many ancient vine sites to their rightful reign as premier California vine lands.
In 1991, Fred and his wife Nancy relocated the winery from Oakley to the Carneros region of Sonoma. This 350-acre estate with new vineyards and facilities is steeped with history (once the site of a Miwok village and the original last California Mission site before it was moved to the town of Sonoma). In the mid 1990s, Fred was presented an opportunity to purchase some property in Petaluma, a short distance as the crow flies from the winery. Fred quickly grasped that this was an area of unleashed potential. These vineyards, located in the Sonoma Coast appellation, are typically enshrouded in early morning coastal fog, bathed in intense midday heat and cooled by late afternoon Pacific breezes. With more than twice the annual rainfall of inland appellations, the region demands longer hang time to ripen the grapes.
Charlie Tsegeletos was raised in Northern California by an Italian mom and a Greek dad. His interest in wine was inherited through his great grandfather, Guippe Guidotti who in the 1930s grew grapes and made wine in the Guerneville area of Sonoma County. Growing up, his family always had a bottle of wine on the table.
In 1979, Charlie earned his degree in Agricultural Science and Management/Plant Science from the University of California at Davis and began his winemaking career in 1980 at the age of 24 as an apprentice for Pendleton Winery. In 1981, he joined Hacienda Wine Cellars as Assistant Winemaker in Sonoma and in 1984 assumed the role of Winemaker at D’Agostini Winery. Charlie joined Glen Ellen Winery in 1987 as Senior Director of Winemaking when it was owned by the Benzigers then ultimately sold to UDV. There he crafted his blending skills and the effects it had on wine. Charlie joined Cline Cellars in 2002 and is responsible for winemaking and production for the winery’s Cline, Oakley and Jacuzzi Family Vineyard brands.
Charlie often lets the grapes guide his style of winemaking. He works closely with the vineyard managers to ensure that varietals are planted in locations that will provide optimal acid and sugar levels and express true varietal characteristics. He then hones his winemaking skills to shepherd the wine towards his chosen style. His red wines are big and dark with lots of fruit concentration and delicate oak nuances; white wines are bright and fresh.