By Fran Endicott Miller | Photos by Tristan Babaian
The regulars and out-of-towners who routinely fill Manzoni Cellars’ Carmel-bythe-Sea tasting room will no doubt be pleased with the extra space provided by its new 7th Avenue location. “We were extremely happy with our cozy San Carlos Street spot, but when this new Hampton Court space opened up just around the corner, we jumped,” says proprietor Mark Manzoni.
The new tasting room—previously occupied by Holman Ranch—allows for double the occupancy of the old one. More customers can now fall for the lush, small production, award-winning wines that charm regulars, drop-ins, and the winery’s devoted wine club members. But expansion ends there; Manzoni chooses quality over quantity in its small production portfolio of estate-grown Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Rose, Santa Lucia Highlands AVAgrown Chardonnay, and Manzoni’s personal favorites: a Zinfandel sourced from Southern Monterey County and a Bordeaux Blend, Cuvee Louie, from Paicines. Tasting room visitors may purchase wines by the glass or a flight of four tastes. Charcuterie and cheese plates will soon be added to the menu.
“Our vibe is ‘modern farmhouse,’” says tasting room manager Lisa Babaian. “It’s very different from the old location. In addition to the added space, it is light, bright, and airy, with Edison lighting, leather bar stools, zinc countertops, sliding barn doors, and a wrought iron chandelier. It’s very warm and inviting.”
Manzoni oversees the Soledad-based winery with his wife, Sabrina, his brother, Michael, and his brother’s wife, Kim. The four may be found within the Carmel tasting room at any given time, pouring and chatting with guests. Though he continues to work in the produce industry that originally brought his family to the area many years ago from Switzerland, Manzoni’s passion is wine. “Our wine simply wouldn’t exist if we didn’t absolutely love it,” says the third-generation Salinas Valley farmer. “We make wine that we, ourselves, would like to drink with dinner every night. That’s really what it’s all about.”