Richard (Chick) & Adrienne Lanza
“My earliest memories are of watching my father making red wine from field blend grapes. I never planned on doing anything else but follow in his footsteps, just as soon as I was old enough. Later, I was determined to build on what he had done, but I couldn’t have done it without my wife Adrienne.
We wanted a big family, and we wanted to grow the business to support us all. It meant hard work and long days for both of us, so you can imagine the sense of pride we have now, with over 300 acres of varietal grapes, and all four sons integrated into a strong family business. I look forward and I see my grandchildren thriving on the same land that has provided for four generations of Lanzas-It’s a good feeling.”
“Like my other brothers I’ve worked in all areas of the vineyards and winery, but prefer winemaking and have an aptitude for it. Ron and I studied at UC Davis to improve our skills and I became winemaker in the early 1980s.
We have a vision in mind for all the varietals and try for minimum intervention in the winemaking process to get there. It’s a fruit forward style but every vintage is different, and our first concern is to improve the quality of our wines year after year. I believe we’ve accomplished it. Of course, it’s easy when you start with the quality grapes grown by my brothers.”
“I always remember how hard my grandmother Lena worked, yet she always found the time to greet each customer in the tasting room-making them feel right at home. She taught me the value of relationships and how much that can help the business. It’s why I focus on marketing today.
I enjoy collaborating with Rick on winemaking decisions, and I work hard to read the market and understand what our customers want. I strive to develop strategies that will keep Wooden Valley thriving. Through our special events, unique wine club, great hospitality and our continual efforts to improve our winegrowing and winemaking skills, Wooden Valley Winery will always have something for everyone.”
“It was a lot of fun growing up here with my brothers. We played together and drove jeeps and tractors all over this property. We also worked hard together in the winery and the vineyards, but from my very early years, working with equipment and on the land was my passion.
The four microclimates between I-80 and the end of the valley are a tremendous asset. We can plant Chardonnay in the south because it’s cooler and there’s more wind, while Cabernet Sauvignon thrives further north where the soil is rocky and there’s less wind. Each passing season only increases my respect for the ecology and aesthetics of this valley. The more you understand this land, the more you can get out of it.”
“I learned the value of a strong work ethic early in life. I also recall that my grandparents treasured people and loved entertaining, and I appreciate the family and friends that surround me. When you bond through working together-like me and my brothers have-it gives you a heightened sense of what you can accomplish together.
Right now I’m striving to capitalize on each segment of the vineyard, with appropriate varieties, techniques and timing. That way, we can give the winery the right grapes to produce a wide range of high quality wines. It’s why I think of myself as a wine grower rather than grape grower. And through that constant, close communication I have with my brothers, we can create a great family of wines for our customers.”