Evolution of a Winegrower
Owners Jim and Anita Forchini first came to Sonoma County in 1963 from Southern California where Jim had been working 3 years as a mechanical engineer writing contracts and executing procurements for NASA spacecraft programs. From 1963-1976 Jim worked in Sonoma County doing product development for two major manufacturing companies. It was during this period he slowly developed an interest in viticulture as a result of his Italian heritage, being exposed to the surrounding vineyards, and making wine with friends. With this growing interest, Jim & Anita invested in a small 24 acre ranch in the Russian River Valley in 1971 which had a mix of old vineyards and prunes. They soon became immersed in the renaissance of the Sonoma County wine industry that was upgrading from generic vineyards and prune orchards to premium varietal wine grapes. After acquiring additional 20 acre vineyard property in Dry Creek Valley in 1973, Jim was approaching a career crossroads. Torn between the demands of private industry, a growing family of 3 children, and operating 2 vineyards,.....Jim made a career change in 1976 to become a full time winegrower with the dream of someday building a small winery. They traded up to aquire 67 acres in Dry Creek, maintained their 24 acres in the Russian River Valley, and devoted themselves to operating and replanting both vineyards to premium varietal grapes while preserving some of the older Zinfandel vines. In 1996 the time was right to build their desired winery. Jim took several short courses at UC Davis and did extensive self study. Their first year production of 425 cases of estate Dry Creek Zinfandel won a gold medal in the West Coast wine competition. Over the next four years they increased winery production to 3000 cases. Today, Forchini Vineyards & Winery produce six estate grown and bottled wines and remain family owned and operated. Jim is the winemaker, Anita handles the office, son Andrew is the vineyard manager, and other family members help out part time.