The Story of Artezin Wines
By Taryn Lachter, Staff Writer
Now a leader in the wine industry, the Hess Family Wine Estates was founded in 1844 in Bern, Switzerland. Their founder, Donald Hess, started the family-owned company because he believed in sustainable and biodynamic farming practices, and began applying them to the art of winemaking. In 1978, Hess purchased vineyards on Mount Veeder in Napa Valley, beginning the incredible journey to becoming a leader in art, culture and winemaking.
Meet the Winemaker, Taste the Wines: Artezin Wines is this June in Greenwich Village!
Hess Family Wine Estates now owns seven different wineries, all in different countries and regions, one of them being Artezin Wines. Artezin, housed in Napa, California, specializes in Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Carignan wines, each specially hand-crafted. The Hess Collection focuses on the sustainable practices of winemaking, and in 2002 helped create the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices for the Wine Institute.
The Artezin Winery is under the management and expertise of Randle Johnson, a renown winemaker from California. He’s commonly known as the Wine Professor as he is extremely well-versed in the rich traditions of Northern California winemaking.
Johnson attended the University of California at Davis with the intention of becoming a doctor, but instead found his passion in viticulture, or the horticultural study of grapes. Johnson began as an Assistant Winemaker under Phil Baxter at the Souverain Winery, and later became the Vineyard Manager and Cellar Master for Mayacamas Vineyards in Napa Valley. He started with the Hess Collection in 1983, helping Donald Hess to craft and perfect his own premium wine label.
Randle Johnson is known for his handcrafted wines that feature heirloom varieties specific to the terroir in which they grow. Artezin is known for their Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Carignan wines, all varieties that Johnson helped to create. They all come from sustainably farmed, family-owned vineyards of Northern California
Known for being a truly “zinny” Zinfandel, this delicious wine brings fabulous aromas of various red fruits like pomegranates, cherries and boysenberries, with allspice and a classic Zinfandel spice character. The Artezin Zinfandel is a signature of the Artezin Winery and is sure to please those who indulge in it.
Also a staple of the Artezin winery is the Mendocino Petite Sirah. With its chewy tannins, and dark berry flavors, this wine pairs extremely well with grilled meats and rich dishes. It’s known for the licorice and spicy nuances, making it wonderfully textured. Randle recommends a nice Stilton cheese to have with an indulgent bottle of the Petite Sirah.
The third signature bottle of the Artezin wines is the Carignan from Contra Costa County. Similar to the Petite Sirah, this wine features a rich ruby color that comes from the black and red fruits like blackberries and cherries, tied together with cinnamon, black pepper and licorice. Because of it’s spicy taste and smooth finish, this Carignan will go perfectly with your elegant, rich meals.