TESTIMONIALS from wineries

We have been growers for Rodney Strong Vineyards for many years and were so delighted when they asked if they could film Brian & I in the Spring of 2014 as representative growers from Dry Creek Valley….possibly the best testimonial we could ask for!!

“We bought Malbec and Petit Verdot grapes from Tzabaco Rancho Vineyards from 2008 through 2014 and were very happy with the quality of the fruit as well as with the farming skills of Janice and Brian Schmidt. Our 2011 Malbec from this vineyard was rated 92 points by the Wine Enthusiast and we have always considered the Petit Verdot we produced from this vineyard one of our best and favorite wines each year.

Janice has always been very reliable in her brix and pH readings and in keeping us informed as to which rows are at varying degrees of ripeness. They have also been very good at picking on the harvest dates that we requested.

The only reason we have discontinued buying their fruit is that we lost our tasting room lease last August and need to scale back our varietal offerings. I highly recommend their grapes to anyone seeking high quality fruit from honest and trustworthy growers.”

Peter Spann
Spann Vineyards

“I have made excellent wine using Tzabaco Rancho grapes for 15 years. My job and product has been greatly enhanced by the hands on approach to grape growing with state of the art technology that Brian and Janice practice in there vineyards. This is a fifth generation family from the Dry Creek Appellation of Sonoma County made up of real people. That is to say they have a conscience and they care about the wines (grapes) they grow so that the wineries they sell their grapes to can produce excellent wines. My success as a winemaker depends on the quality of the grapes I ferment. Tzabaco Rancho grapes are paramount to Burnett Ridge Winery.”

Chip Emmerich
Burnett Ridge (Cincinnati, OH)

“I have had the good fortune to work with Merlot from Tzabaco Rancho for more than a dozen years. This site in the heart of Dry Creek Valley is well suited to growing top quality Merlot. Both Brian and Janice Schmidt are committed to growing high quality grapes and understand the concept of being not merely ‘growers’ but ‘winegrower’. They have worked hard to stay abreast of new vineyard practices and implement them to continually improve the grapes they grow. I used their Merlot fruit in the Lambert Bridge Merlot blend-our flagship varietal-and also in our Crane Creek Cuvee-our prestige meritage blend.”

Julia Iantosca
Former Winemaker – Lambert Bridge Winery

TESTIMONIALS from home winemakers

“Now that things are calming down a bit I wanted to shoot you a note thanking you and Brian for a top notch experience getting grapes this year. You guys were so friendly and helpful we had a great time up there. I know you guys were stressed and hot but still great hosts. I hope the rest of your harvest and crush went well. The Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay are all going well here and I am excited to see what will happen with time. I am looking forward to seeing you guys again next year. Thanks again!”

Tom O. [2015]

“I wanted to say how pleased I am to be purchasing again our grapes from you at your vineyard. It was such a rewarding experience picking up our modest quantity last year, having you describe the personal history of growing grapes and be given your excellent guidance on handling our production of wine. We had a barrel tasting on Friday and were very pleased with the results of our labor. You have rounded our experience of wine making with a deeper connection to the growing of our grapes. Thank you and we look forward to seeing again soon.”

Christopher C. [2015]

“Jim and I would like to congratulate you on your big win at the Harvest Fair [Sweepstakes Red Wine for our Estate 1856 2010 Bordeaux Blend]! Very cool stuff. I am sure you are thrilled! We also won a double gold on our 2009 Meritage (amateur competition) with grapes from Tzabaco Rancho Vineyard (we picked Cab, Malbec and Merlot from you that year), so we are excited as well.”

Best, Dawn and Jim D. [2013]

“Great Grapes Equal Great Wine: The 2009 Malbec from Tzabaco Ranch got gold at Winemaker this weekend! Got silver at Cellarmasters and is in the State fair next month!! I really appreciate the care you give to your vineyard, that made the gold possible.”

Thanks, Dan B. [2011]

“Last year [2014 update], our ninth season, we made our first sauvignon blanc and our first 100% malbec. We bottled our sauv blanc about a month ago, pH about 2.9, no MLF and very tasty crisp and enjoyable. A professional wine maker friend was impressed. We also made malbec 100% and are tasting it regularly. Still not quite finished with MLF but is still showing lovely fruit, complex tannins and a bit of mild oak. Its in 1 yr old french oak and aging nicely.

We can’t thank you enough for the pleasures you have introduced us to – not just the drinking but the winemaking is extremely satisfying. We drink wine with every meal and when in restaurants with a nice cellar – we often say – this is good but no better than what we have made. Sounds a bit self congratulatory but it is true. All of this goes to the grape quality and the approach to vinification- both of which for us come from the Schmidt family. Thanks again. Best wishes to you both”

Jeff L [5 years later!]

“We have been extremely happy with the results over the past few years even with all the errors made along the way. We tasted some of our 2007 Cab/Malbec (20%) with a good friend visiting from France who is a bit of a wine snob and he kept saying that he could not believe this was a “vin de garage”, as he put it, and wanted to know where we got our grapes. Everyone agrees – its all about the grapes. He took some of our wine back to France to show off to his friends – one of whom is the wine maker for Chateau Clerc-Milon.”

Jeff L [2009]

“Hello Janice,

You will be interested in knowing that the 2005 cabernet sauvignon grapes we obtained from you provided a silver award at 91 points in the 2006 California State Fair wine competition. We expect it will continue to improve with age.

Our success with your grapes and others is very much attributable to your review of our wine making plan and to the excellent advice you gave us. It’s hard to know which I appreciate most – your fine grapes or your guidance. In any event we will be back this year for more of each.


Greg M

“I purchased cabernet grapes from you with my cousin back in 2003 and 2004. The reason why I am writing you is that I recently opened a 2003 and 2004 cabernet we made from your grapes. It was wonderful!!! This tasting convinced me to once again start to play your with your fruit and see what can happen.”

Matt G