Dinner at Ca’Momi Enoteca was excellent! The maitre d’ Antonio was an old school Italian gentlemen who treated me like a king. Super busy reasonably priced country Italian cuisine in an open market named Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa.
The next morning I met early with Jimmy Smith the director of sales and Dario De Conti the owner and winemaker. Jimmy is outrageous! Tattoos all over him, chains hanging from his neck, wrist and pants and a lot to say about a lot of stuff. Dario, soft spoken compared with Jimmy, is brilliant. He is clearly responsible and dedicated to his business and passion, Ca’Momi.
Dario and his family are from Venice. In Italy they made their careers from helping wineries in Italy with the scientific side of wine-making like filtration and fixing problems. They built the machines for this and were very good at it. Dario was also a very respected winemaker in the Veneto. They took all this experience from Italy and moved to Napa valley where they have had enormous success.
Why? Dario is a brilliant winemaker who understands the science of wine-making, he is also a very good businessman who can offer value to quality and still turn a profit.
Let me share some important notes:
The Ca’Momi restaurant in the very trendy and busy Oxbow Market is serving great food at a great price daily paired with the great wines of Ca’Momi, a perfect source of promotion and brand respect building.
The winery is in an industrial park the is very affordable, no picturesque views, no million dollar wannabe Chateaux looking buildings, no tourist trap tasting facilities. Ca’Momi winery is a business and every tool they have is necessary and every employee is working their butts off. For instance they use plastic fermentation tanks, when empty 3 guys can lift them and move them. There is no fear from earthquake damage and no need to insure them as well. This is one of many cost efficient ideas Ca’Momi has to make great Napa wine at a great price and still show profit
Dario has a business called Winetech. He has various machines on trailers and 90% of the Napa wineries that you know do business with Winetech. The service Dario offers is knowledge and the scientific ability to do it or fix it. So, Winetech is working with clients regularly and making their wine great and sometimes in the cover of the night he is coming in and saving their harvest from its certain demise. Dario can do this and everyone in Napa knows who he is and what he can do. Therefore Dario has very good friends in Napa which translates to very good fruit sources and very good prices in a very large quantity. Are you following me?
I took this trip wanting to understand the process or technique that makes Ca’Momi Rosso this phenomenon that once placed in a store sells like crack in Pontiac. Some Michigan wine geeks said “its the hot fast fermentation” or “they chill the must” or “they have a reverse osmosis machine”. So I inquired about each of those and after receiving and proud and obvious “yes, of course” I realized well he is Dario De Conti the all knowing wine guru of Napa Valley, of course!
There is no trick, but there are many tricks and Dario knows them all, and does them all better then anyone. The most important thing I learned regarding this though is that bullshit brands like Barefoot and Apothic are formula wines that add what they need to accomplish their end result. Ca’Momi is real wine with wine making making technique at its finest.
The future is very bright for Ca,Momi. They are very respected, very well connected and doing everything right in a time and a place the needs someone like Dario. We are in their top 3 states for sales and the relationship between Woodberry Wine and Ca’Momi is very strong.
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