Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
“It always goes back to the simple idea of sitting around a table — eating, drinking, and communicating,” says Andrew Mariani, half the fraternal team that runs Sonoma’s Scribe Winery. He and his brother, Adam, are California boys through and through — casual, smiling lads who just happen to have created an artisanal haven of wine, youthful creativity, and more for the hipper parts of the Bay Area wine set.
Raised on a walnut orchard in Winters, CA, the Mariani’s traveled extensively (Andrew had a lightbulb, this-is-what-I-should-be-doing-with-my-life moment at a tiny Greek vineyard) before putting down roots as full-time winemakers. Their Scribe home base is 200 acres full of rich history, originally founded in 1858 by the Dresel brothers. Time and disuse eventually led it to become a turkey farm, but a little fowl play didn’t dissuade Andrew, who’s been painstakingly reconstructing the winery to its former glory (and beyond) since 2007.
As ever, where wine flows, parties follow. The Scribe gents have cultivated a regular crowd of creative types — artists, DJs, and the like — who come to their estate to project movies, frolic, wed, and, of course, take a taste (or more) of their respected pinots and cabernets with their knowledgable, stylish staff. Lots of eating, drinking, and communicating there. Of course, any time running a full-time winery feels like actual work, the brothers have their escapes — Adam prefers a solitary walk around the vineyard, while Andrew will pop a cork and taste what’s become his life’s work. Grab a carafe, and settle in for a little talk over a glass.
Andrew: “Farming, and the lifestyle that comes with it, has always been a part of our lives. I had the opportunity to work at some wineries in Europe, mainly Greece, and I became fascinated by the intense relationship that the vintners and winemakers had with their farms, their landscape. I wanted to have that same symbiosis with my native California landscape and produce something distinctly Californian.”
Adam: “Our family has farmed here for generations. After so long, this becomes a deep part of who you are. You become enchanted with what this means and where this can go.”
Love at First Sip
Andrew: “The first moment I stepped on the land that is now the Scribe Estate, I knew this is where I wanted to spend my life. You could sense the history of the place and the eras and people that had come and gone. I wanted to add a new chapter to its anthology.”
Adam: “This farm is alive. You can feel and see this natural landscape and environment at work every day. The weather’s daily transformations are like a season in themselves. The challenge of trying to harness the power of this place in a bottle of wine — and in a life — was too intense to pass up.”
In Vino Veritas
Andrew: “The world is becoming a homogenized internationalized place; you can really see it on a wine shelf, where wines from South Africa, Australia, Italy, and the U.S.A. can look and taste the same. I think regional distinction is something to fight for. It’s our intention to make wines that express this place singularly, and that when people visit here, they engage in the land in a way that makes sense for this place. People engage with the natural world through what they eat and drink, and we want to provide an avenue for that connection.”
Adam: “After wine-making in France and countless other adventures around the globe, nothing has been as influential in my wine-making as the understanding of what it means to farm in California and being able understand this farm.”
Andrew: “Relative to the Old World, California is in its infancy. We’re still discovering what grows well where and the best ways to coax nuance and distinction out of the soil. The idea of being a part of a generation that is discovering California terroir is incredibly exciting.”
Adam: “Scribe will be forever evolving. There is still so much to discover.”