About Our Winemaker
Winemaker and founder Vince Pantess grew up in an Italian family in an industrialized area of New Jersey just west of New York City. Sharing food and wine was always central to his family life. On Sundays, he and his cousins were served a glass of home-made wine mixed with a little water at dinner. The Italian immigrants brought their wine-making skills with them from the Old World and Vince’s great grandfathers made wine in their cellars for many years.
Vince has always been fascinated by the unique combination of artistry and chemistry that goes into making a fine wine. But it wasn’t until 2005 that he actually began to pursue his dream of creating unique, hand-crafted wines. Twenty years of working in chemical and bio-pharmaceutical industries provided the solid scientific background that any vintner needs. He added to this knowledge base by taking classes in, winemaking and horticulture.
In 2007, Vince bought 500 pounds of Sangiovese grapes and fermented them in 30-gallon plastic tubs in his garage. From then on, he was hooked! That year he quit his job, enrolled in the renowned Winemaking Certification Program at UC Davis, and formed Designs on Wine, LLC, which is the parent company for San Vicente Cellars.
In 2008, while still making his own wine at home, Vince worked his first commercial harvest at Kenneth Volk Winery in Santa Maria, California. That experience had an enormous impact on Vince’s wine-making career. He was impressed by the dedication and skill of everyone involved, from the field workers to the winemaker to the cellar staff. Vince says “I admit that I was already caught up in the romance of winemaking, but this really opened my eyes. My hands became rough and calloused and I hadn’t worked so hard in along time! But I loved the hands-on, manual labor aspect of it” Vince survived this first harvestand made the commitment to continue on his quest.
In 2009, Vince contracted with five different vineyards and a custom crush facility to make his own commercial vintage, processing a combined 12 tons of Syrah, Grenache, Sangiovese, and Tempranillo.
The custom crush was a huge success and it was time for Vince to implement the final phase of his plan. In April of 2010 he leased a 1500-square-foot space in Camarillo, California. He named his venture San Vicente Cellars, after the patron saint of winemaking. In May 2010, Vince received his Winemaking Certification from UC Davis. And now Vince is proud to carry on the tradition of crafting wines destined to be shared with family and friend at the dinner table.