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Wine Club Selections: An Interview With Matt Buoncristiani of Buoncristiani Family Winery

Get To Know The Winemaker: Buoncristiani Family Winery

We asked Matt Buoncristiani of Buoncristiani Family Winery some questions about wine, food, traveling, and life in general. His wines have been selected for our wine club, so learn more about Matt Buoncristiani and Buoncristiani Family Winery here. Year after year, they receive tremendous critical acclaim (too many 90+ scores to list). In June of 2015, The Wine Advocate's Robert Parker had this to say about Buoncristiani Family Winery, "this winery merits serious attention and I hope it receives it, because it does seem to me to be a producer that's somewhat under the radar. I immensely enjoy the wines from this winery."

What is your name and title?

Matt Buoncristiani, Co-Founder / Managing Partner, Buoncristiani Family Winery (est. 1999). 

How did you get your start in wine? When did you know you wanted to make it a career?

Growing up in Napa with my three younger brothers, my parents had a small vineyard in the back yard we made wine from as a hobby home winemaking project. My parents were influential in these early years getting all of us working the vines and the wines in the garage! They had a built in vineyard and cellar crew aka the Buon Bros… In the mid-90s, we took over the home winemaking operations from my parents to replenish all the wine we drank (older we got, more we depleted!) and started entering our efforts as my dad did in local fairs and home winemaking competitions. After a few years of Blue Ribbon, Second Places, Best of Show accolades, many insisted with a name like “Buoncristiani” you gotta have that on a label. It was a story of garage hobby to profession and to this day we do not take for granted what we do and love for a living.

What wine did you make that you are most proud of and why?

I am not the Wine Maker that is my brother Jay, but I had a strong cellar hand and presence in the creation of our first vintage of our black label Cabernet Sauvignon we call THE CORE in vintage 2006. It is the quintessential Cabernet and showcases what our brand stands for in regards to wine style of balance, power, complexity, elegance, layers of concentration and ageability. And not to mention Parker gave the wine a 97 rating!

What is your favorite thing about being in the wine industry?

The sense of accomplishing production of a product we are proud to put our name on and see it all the way through from the vineyard to the table through sales and marketing. A truly rewarding experience putting smiles on the faces of many!

How do you see the wine industry changing over the next 5-10 years?

I see a more of the younger generation and consumer enjoying wine. I also see Napa wine prices increasing!

Who or what are your biggest influences?

My immediate family. They mean the world to me and give me motivation to do the very best in life as a father, a husband, and in business to perform to my fullest potential.

It’s an early Fall evening, sweater weather, what are you drinking?

Buoncristiani Syrah Artistico series, (Stagecoach and Hyde vineyard sources). This wine screams Fall season and goes so well with a variety of hearty dishes (and hearty sweaters I might add). 

What’s your favorite drink other than wine?

Negroni on the rocks (Gin 209, Campari, and Sweet Vermouth) with orange twist. My Nonna and Great Aunt drank them, and Father drinks them too! Also, Single Malt Scotch. 

What is your favorite food?

Italian for sure. While living in Florence, I was exposed to so many seasonal dishes and foods that it was an experience I will never forget. Of course, with food comes wine, so the match was heaven.

Favorite food and wine pairing?  Bone in Rib Eye, Cabernet…Delicious!

Favorite restaurant?  In Napa, has to be Oenotri. In Florence Italy, Cibreo.

Favorite band?

I like so many types of music it is difficult to choose. In the heavy metal category has to be Metallica, Hip Hop gotta be Snoop Dogg, Classic Rock - Jimi Hendrix, Reggae - Peter Tosh, love the Grateful Dead too. I am all over the place and love to listen to smooth jazz on a rainy day.

Best concert you’ve ever been to?

In recent years, the 3rd annual Bottle Rock extravaganza weekend event in Napa Valley. Such an array of artists and music. I enjoy so many different styles.

Place you’d most like to visit that you haven’t yet?

Cinque Terra, Italia. Would love to go to Ireland

Other than wine country, what is the best place for people to visit in California?

In the south: San Diego, I love Mexican Cuisine and I think San Diego’s weather, vibe, and energy are awesome. In the north: Lake Tahoe west shore or north shore. We vacation there every summer and all the bros snowboard in the winter. It is such a beautiful gem, and any time of year is great to visit the Lake.

Article of clothing or accessory you can’t live without?

My trusty Buoncristiani Winery pro style flex fit baseball cap. Black cap with gold logo. Unassuming, comfortable, and stylish!

What is your favorite Hobby or pastime? Playing Guitar. Bocce Ball with a tumbler of red wine.

You can taste the wines from Buoncristiani Family Winery and many other acclaimed small wine producers by joining one of Winestyr's wine clubs. To learn more about our wine clubs, click here.