Nello Olivo Vineyards – A Beautiful Night
This will be a departure from most of the posts to this site in that this is a personal entry.
I’ve posted the news story about Nello Olivo and his vineyard Cameron Park in Placerville and his incredible success with his wines, winning over 25 awards in 2010 alone. This is a remarkable achievement because last year was only the first year they were put on the market.
Bonnie and I have known the Olivos, Nello and D’Anica for over ten years from mutual film friends. We were up at their property, over twenty acres, when he was putting in the first rows of vines. We both thought, “He’s turning essentially residential and ranch land over into a vineyard at 1,500 feet altitude? Good luck.” It just goes to show what we know about wine making. Guess I’d better stick to cameras.
The Olivos invited us up for a Dinner In The Vineyard on their property, inviting friends and members of their wine club. I worked it off so I could get off a little early from work at KCRA on a Saturday, not always an easy thing to do, and we headed up Highway 50 out of Sacramento for the evening.
These are snapshots of the night. Nello hosted us all with fabulous new wines available for this year, which can be found at Nelloolivo.com and are worth every award and accolade they have earned. The kind of wine that you want to make a point of inhaling the aroma before tasting, and then roll around on the tongue and savor before sipping. Fruity, rich, amazing. Not like the types of wine I typically swill — as Bonnie can attest to!
Nello started the evening out with a dusk tour through some of the vineyard.
It’s been an odd year weather-wise for this part of California — rains late into the year, a mostly mild summer with periodic bursts of heat. I wondered what all that moisture, then dry heat did to his grapes. Nello tells me that this could be the best year for grapes that he’s had. Not for quantity, because he doesn’t go for that. In fact, he pulls grapes off of the vines during the growing stages to improve the quality of the grapes that he keeps on the vines. Very shrewd.
Then we were all treated to a four course meal on the edge of the vineyard, each course accompanied by a different wine. Bonnie is not a big lover of red wines, but even these she found sumptuous and impossible to resist.
Bonnie and I sat with D’Anica Olivo, who had been Miss Canada in 1959 as Danica D’Hondt and went onto an acting career in Hollywood, appearing in films and TV series like The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Wild, Wild West and Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea just to name a few. She also had a part in A Very Special Favor with Rock Hudson, one of my favorites, and which I must ask her about. D’Anica never talks about her time in the film business, only about the success that her daughter America Olivo is enjoying as an established film and Broadway actress.
Dinner was prepared and served in the vineyard by the chef from the Olivo’s other enterprise, the Sequoia fine dining restaurant in Placerville.
Later in the evening Nello told me that he had entered one of his new wines into a competition in Los Angeles where he was competing against wines from fourteen other countries. He got a call to inform him that his wine was named Platinum, to which he responded, “Oh, okay. So who won?” He’s still new to the wine competitions and wasn’t aware that the awards go from Bronze to Silver to Gold to Double Gold to Platinum. His wine had been named internationally as the best of the best of the best!
It was a lovely evening, wonderful people and perfect end of summer weather.
Nello will begin harvesting his wonderful grapes in the coming weeks. I hope to be able to get back up there to do another news story for KCRA about this past year’s crop. I love photographing grapes and vineyards. One of the great perks to being a working cameraman in Northern California.
A very big thank you to my co-workers at KCRA for helping me to get off a little early so that Bonnie and I could attend this event.
And a huge thank you to the Olivos — great hosts and wonderful friends. All our best to you.