With a unique portfolio of flavorful, distinctive wines, Mastro Scheidt Family Cellars was born a lifelong love of family, food and wine. Founded by David Scheidt in 2007, the winery is named for his ancestors – the Mastrogiacomos, shortened to Mastro at Ellis Island, on his mother’s side, who immigrated to Fresno from Southern Italy in the early 1900s, and the Scheidts on his father’s, Prussians who arrived around the same time from the Volga River valley. David’s family instilled a deep and abiding love of cooking and wine from a very early age.
Mastro Scheidt wines … distinctive, flavorful and always interesting
Flavorful, distinctive wines that compliment food but never overpower it, that’s the goal at Mastro Scheidt. “We believe every wine should be well-balanced and intense,” David says. “We insist that each of our vineyard sources has its own character.”
When crafting a blend, David seeks out vineyards whose unique components build a story in the glass. And for those vineyards whose stories must be told as a solo act, he crafts small, single vineyard bottlings, to fully capture the individual character and personality of the site. With both blend and single vineyard wine, balance is of the utmost importance.
Classic but never typical, the Mastro Scheidt portfolio ranges from Italian varietal powerhouses to straight up Cabs to signature blends – each wine hand crafted from exceptional mountain and hillside vineyards in Sonoma County, where rocky soils and a pattern of warm days and cool nights add depth, character and personality.
Alongside their focus wines – Cabernet Sauvignon from the Dry Creek Valley - the portfolio today also includes a cult Cabernet Franc the “1TL”, a super-Tuscan styled Sangiovese blend called Superstrada and a Sonoma County Red Blend that David declares will never be the same blend twice (seriously – Forrest Gump would love this wine – you never know what you’re gonna get.) David’s adventurous personality finds its way into each and every wine, perhaps nowhere more than the Craft Growler (a.k.a. The Jug).
“Jug wine has been negatively viewed by pretty much everyone,” David shared, “and I wanted to change that perception by custom blending a high-quality wine into an easily identified craft container. We debuted The Jug in San Francisco early in 2014, 120 jugs or one barrel of wine sold out in two days. I knew we had something special.”
The Path to Wine … a long and winding road
Having grown up with wine a staple at the table, as a young man David explored the California wine regions with keen interest, developing a serious interest in the craft of wine making, the wine business and the vineyards around Healdsburg. With a BS in Finance from CSU Fresno, he first established a successful career as a financial analyst and consultant. But inspiration and desire emerged from a family trip to Italy in 2004 with brother John and cousin Marco, and the lure of wine making took hold. The three toured from Tuscany to Campania, and, on a last night in Rome, cooking, drinking and talking late into the night, enlightenment arrived: one of them had to carry on the family tradition of winemaking. David returned to his corporate finance career, with a determination to get himself into the wine industry at the earliest possible opportunity.
Mastro Scheidt begins…by diving in the deep end
As David explored the wines of Sonoma County from Knights Valley in the north, along the Sonoma Coast to Sonoma Valley, he also got to know the people behind the wines and behind the vineyards. So long before he made his first wine, he had identified his favorite vineyard sites and wine styles – most of them in Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley. In the spirit of experimentation, he crafted his first wine at a custom crush pad, where “watch..learn…do” was his initial winemaking approrach. The 2007 Cabernet sat in bottle for a few years while David dealt with the Great Recession of 2008.
David returned to Italy in 2009, to refine his skills as a cook and to learn more about traditional winemaking. He explored the subtleties and simplicity of Italian cooking in the kitchens of Tuscany, Puglia, Liguira and Emilia Romagna. He had the opportunity to work the Italian harvest at a small family farm in Ugento, Puglia, where Antonio of Masseria Gianferrante let him get his hand dirty.
“There was no chemistry lab, no oak barrels, no pad,” David recalls from his time in Italy. “There were no written instructions, no protocols, only tradition. This traditional technique was something I never had growing up — the tradition that was passed down from generation to generation.”
Back in Sonoma County, David crafted three small Cabernet Sauvignon bottlings that Fall of ‘09, this time incorporating some of the things he had learned in Italy, but also with a clearer wine style in mind. “I started to define the style I wanted to make at Mastro Scheidt that year.”
David Scheidt, Sole Proprietor and Winemaker
A man of many interests, David Scheidt runs the entire winemaking process at Mastro Scheidt – from vine to bottle. It is his desire (and his palate) that guides the portfolio.
His career in the corporate and institutional finance sector has lasted more than 20 years. He has been published in financial journals and has taught at the American Management Association and UC Extension. He is a recognized speaker throughout the country on investment topics.
As a chef and food aficionado, he has been published in ThePuglia.com and has been a featured blogger on Urbanspoon and Noms.in. David was quoted in the September 1, 2011 edition of the Wall Street Journal regarding San Francisco restaurants. As a global traveler, he always finds time to cook with locals and pick up what he can in the kitchen. As for a favorite dish, it has to be pasta; with so many possibilities, who doesn't love pasta?
He is a talented amateur photographer, shooting many of the photos featured here on MastroScheidt.com.
He is a seasoned high-altitude mountaineer and climber. Together, John and David have explored The Wild West. From the High Desert in the great American Southwest to the highest peaks in California, Colorado, and Wyoming. His favorite climb? The Eiger in Switzerland (yes like the movie with Clint Eastwood).
You can learn more about David’s varied interests and adventures at DavidScheidt.com.