Don and Charlene Stolo purchased 53 acres of property to call home, located just east of Cambria CA. The coastal property had an existing 9 acre vineyard planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. Soon after their purchase, they were faced with the following choice: continue to sell the high in demand coastal grapes to local winemakers, or produce their own wine.
As Italian-Americans, Don and Charlene had grown up with wine and food as an integral part of family and celebration. Having lived in the eastern United States during their childhoods, each have sentimental memories of their grandparents making wine in the basements of their homes from grapes shipped from California. With these fond memories of family tradition, they decided to follow in their ancestor’s footsteps and start their own boutique label.
In 2004, with the help of their three children and neighbors, Don and Charlene harvested their first vintage from Stolo Family Vineyard. They bottled 176 cases and officially became part of the wine industry. Pleased with the uniqueness and quality of their little estate vineyard, the couple established a solid foundation for their family label.
Designed by Charlene Stolo, the Stolo Family Vineyards label is a representation of their three children; Justin, Maria, and Breanna, raising their glasses in a toast. The drawing is a tribute to our family's Italian toast "cent anni" which means may you live to 100 years!
After graduating from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles with a degree in Psychology, Maria set out for San Francisco. Without much of a plan, her colorful resume began to take shape as she explored different avenues. She entertained several occupational avenues but none of these seemed to light a spark. What really started to peak her interest was the burgeoning wine industry. She decided to check it out. Maria landed a position as a tasting room attendant at Cartlidge and Browne in Napa. After learning the basics behind the bar, she applied and got a position at the well established California Wine Merchant in San Francisco. She was given the opportunity to try and learn about wines from all over the world. This is where her love of wine really took hold and stuck. Moving from here to work as a sales representative for West Coast Wines, a broker that represented boutique wine labels from Napa and Sonoma, Maria was given the San Francisco territory. She was now faced with the challenge to sell hand crafted wines to some of the top Sommeliers and Wine Directors in the world...and she loved it. She met winemakers, toured and tasted at small upcoming wineries and vineyards, and was immersed fully into the wine culture
A few years passed and Maria’s parents, Don and Charlene Stolo, approached her about starting a small label of their own. With the family history of winemaking, the wine industry experience she now possessed, and the small vineyard that Don and Charlene recently purchased; the idea seemed to fit perfectly. She helped her parents launch Stolo Family Vineyards in 2004. The family winery has grown in size and maturity over the past ten years. She continues to work diligently to create a label that she is proud to put her family name on.
Also a wife and mother of two energetic boys, Maria splits her time between running the family winery and being a mom. In 2012, she launched the Pacific Coast Wine Trail, which joins together the now ten wineries along the Northern Coast of San Luis Obispo County . She is also one of three at the helm working to create a new Coastal AVA in San Luis Obispo County. “I love this industry. The possibilities and personal growth are endless. Plus, you get to be around and interact with such a cool core group of fun, interesting people. It is work….but fun work,” she says smiling.
Luke came to us in 2010 with the experience and expertise that
our small vineyard was in need of. With a Bachelor of Science in
Wine and Viticulture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Luke did not
hesitate to jump into the industry. He created Coastal Range Vineyards, a vineyard consultant company, focused on small ultra-premium wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Along with his partners, he ran the day to day operations of multiple small vineyards in the cool climate area. Luke also managed to squeeze in harvests in South Africa and South Australia during downtime.
You may have noticed that both our Winemaker, Nicole Bertotti Pope, and Vineyard Consultant, Lucas Pope, have the same last name. They happen to be our dynamic duo husband and wife team!
After a few years, Nicole moved back down to the Central Coast for a position at Talley Vineyards in Arroyo Grande, known also for world class cool climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. She started as their Enologist and moved on to Assistant Winemaker. Nicole came on as winemaker at Stolo Family Vineyards in 2011 and continues to utilize her knowledge of cool climate wines to produce beautiful representations of our vineyards. In 2013, Nicole and Luke welcomed their first child, Greyson, into their family.
After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences and Minor in Psychology, Nicole, along with Luke, set off to explore the vineyards of the world. They traveled and worked in California, Australia, and South Africa, gaining extensive knowledge of unique practices from around the globe. Nicole landed at Domaine Carneros in the Carneros Region of Napa Valley where she served as Enologist. She honed her skills producing cool climate Pinot Noir and sparkling wine.
His desire to move back to the Central Coast brought him to Stolo Family Vineyards. Once on board, he immediately put his advanced knowledge in cool climate, ultra-premium vineyard techniques to work. Stolo Family Vineyards has never been in better shape and better hands. It is wonderful to have a husband and wife team working together to create quality and consistency from vineyard to bottle.
Stolo Family Vineyards
3776 Santa Rosa Creek Road
Cambria, CA 93428
Phone: (805) 924.3131