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The toast of Manteca for 75-plus years

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Richard Foote and the rest of the Delicato Family Vineyards wine tasting room staff are ready to help you sample and learn about their wines. Sparkling non-alcoholic wines are available for non-dri...

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED February 18, 2012 1:36 a.m.

Need an education on wine?

Look no further than Delicato Family Vineyards.

Open seven days a week, the Delicato Tasting Room at 12001 S. Highway 99 offers complimentary samples and gift ideas.

According to Tasting Room manager Richard Foote, folks of all ages are always welcome, with sparkling non-alcoholic wines available for non-drinkers and those under age 21.

But it’s the Delicato wines that attract people from all over.

“We have over 100 different wines,” Foote said on Thursday. “Not all are available (for sampling) – we have a list that we rotate.”

The Tasting Room also offers wine not available at Raley’s or Save Mart. Both super markets are major distributors for Delicato.

Gnarly Head, Hand Craft, and Brazin are the popular choices at the family-owned winery committed to over 80 years of California winemaking and winegrowing.

Gaspare Indelicato started up the business in 1924. He immigrated to California from a small village in Italy, bringing along his knowledge of growing wine grapes passed on to him from previous generations.

After Prohibition was repealed in 1935, Gaspare entered into the wine-making business.

His first vintage produced 3,451 gallons of wine sold locally. Today, Delicato puts out 52 million gallons annually including international distribution.

Foote noted that the wine here is crafted using harvested grapes from Napa, Lodi, Monterey and Sonoma.

He’s been with Delicato for 24 years, beginning as a Tasting Room supervisor and going to outside sales for Northern California about 12 years ago. In 2003, he came back to the Tasting Room as manager.

This past summer, Foote used his knowledge of viticulture by conducting a Winemaking 101A class at Delicato.

He’s amazed at the growing interest in wines, particularly with the 2004 Academy Award-winning film ‘Sideways’ helping promote the industry.

“That movie changed the way people saw Pinot Noir but the Merlots took a hit,” Foote added.

Some of the latest trends now include box wines.

“Consumers now have affordable wine on demand,” he said. “You can now have a wine bar (in your refrigerator).

“Once open, the box wines stay good for over a month.”

An East Union High graduate, Foote moved to the area when he was in eighth grade. “That’s when Manteca was a small town with one traffic signal (Main Street and Yosemite Avenue) and couple of blinking red lights,” he said.

Thanks to Delicato, Manteca is now a destination place, but, for locals, without much traveling.

“We’re here to help with wine and food pairings,” Foote said. “We can also help with gift selections.

“We’re here to educate you.”

— Vince Rembulat
staff reporter

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