At the foot of the Andes Mountains, in the vast desert province of Mendoza sits Familia Zuccardi, makers of the brand Santa Julia and Argentina's largest family-owned winery as well as one of the leading exporters of Argentine wines. The wines of Santa Julia are handcrafted from estate grown, handpicked fruit and is estate produced in a state-of-the-art facility. In total, there are 1,600 acres of noble grapes under cultivation.
Innovation is a trademark of the winery. Experimentation with new plantings is vital to their quest for quality. The estate utilizes a small experimental winery that has twenty stainless steel tanks of varying sizes; 500, 2000, 3000 and 6000 liters. The objective is to experiment with up to 25 new varieties over the course of 5+ years along with new vinification techniques. This allows the Zuccardi's to get feedback about the varieties, their suitability for commercialization and the best vinification techniques for each varietal. Successful experiments have yielded the first Viognier from Argentina as well as a popular Pinot Grigio and a late-harvest Torrontes (called Tardio) all under the Santa Julia brand name. Recently, the Zuccardi's have built a winery devoted to the production and ageing of sparkling wines, which will be headed by the next generation of Zuccardi wine makers.
While the entire estate operates under sustainable agricultural practices, half of the vineyards are certified organic.
At Familia Zuccardi, when it comes to producing world class Argentine wine, they take their job seriously. Their philosophy is simple. As Jose Zuccardi puts it, "The word family is central to the way in which we have always run our business. This means that many of the families, such as the Morenos and the Vegas, who joined the Company in my father's day, are still with us today caring for the vineyards and we now have a permanent workforce of over 450 people. To guarantee the quality of our Santa Julia brand, we believe in using people rather than machines whenever possible." Workers at Familia Zuccardi are employed year-round and the winery provides subsidized health care and free education to all its workers.
There are several distinct lines under the Santa Julia brand available in the US: Santa Julia [+], Santa Julia 'Organica', Santa Julia 'Reserva', Santa Julia 'Innovacion' as well as a line of several sparkling wines.