Far Niente and Dolce wines are two completely different entities housed under the same house. Far Niente's history dates back to 1885 where John Benson constructed the property with winnings from the gold rush of the era. The property is yet another staple of Hamden McIntyre. The winery located off the side of a hill in Oakville possesses a privileged overlook to the valley and exceptional land to grow their vines.
Benson's nephew was impressionist painter Winslow Homer who is said to have designed the original label for the first wines produced at the winery. The imagery features a grape bunch laying over a hammock and the wine produced, which was a sweet muscat. The property will fall into decay after the prohibition period in 1919 and it would not return until 1979 when Gil Nickel purchased the property and began the restoration of the estate and winery.
The second iteration of the winery will not produce sweet muscat, but Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, both staples of the valley. In honor of the heritage of the winery's original vision, the name Far Niente found carved within the property and meaning 'without a care,' was used to label the wines. Dolce Far Niente a traditional saying in Italy, meaning the sweetness of doing nothing later would inspire Dolce. A Sauternes style wine that rivals those of its French counterparts and offers a delightful journey for anyone who has the opportunity to taste it.
The wines from Far Niente are soft and smooth to drink, yet layered for those looking for more notes on the wine. The quality of the grapes and the fact that the entire production is estate bottled allows for the winery to deliver a consistent and high-quality offering year after year. The vision is to provide the best wine from the best grapes available on their land, making the experience accessible and enjoyable for the consumer.
The importance of iconography is apparent in both their state and marketing and their wines are easily recognizable with their labels. The winery is memorable not only for being a beautiful property but for the use of details like chestnut rims on the barrels, an homage to an era where the chestnut would show plagues or issues with the barrels before the oak itself would be corrupted. It is similar to the use of rose bushes at the end of the vines. The roses will show issues in the land and allow the winemaker to address them before they become widespread on the winery. Today's technology is much more sophisticated. Still, it is details like this that make the experience more engaging and approachable to the consumer.