I met Nick Palumbo a few years ago while I was taking a friend on a tour of Temecula Valley wineries. My first impression of Nick was that he was genuine and that he had a true passion for his craft. As I’ve grown to know Nick, I’ve learned that my first impressions were right on the mark.
I met with Nick last week in the middle of a freak late spring thunder and lightning storm. The road to the winery was torn up and major construction was taking place near the tasting room. In the midst of the chaos, Nick was cool and collected, explaining to me that they were building a much needed storage facility and office. As of now, his work desk is three feet from his bed. If all goes according to plan, the construction will be completed by harvest this year. In the meantime, Palumbo is open for business.
Nick told me he’s spent most of his life around wine and food. His first job at fifteen was in a deli. He worked as a waiter and chef in New York City from 1991 to 1997, discovering fine dining during that period and the quality wines that go with great food. He started studying wine and in 1998 he moved to California.
He purchased the property he presently occupies and it was already planted with seven acres of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The following year he bought five acres in front of the property and planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Shiraz and Viognier. He had no intention of starting a winery. He was growing quality fruit and was getting a good price for it.
Nick began doing “grunt” work at some of the area wineries; Cilurzo (now Bella Vista) and Filsinger. He studied at UC Davis and after prompting from his wife Cindy, he decided to start producing wine. Palumbo produces small amounts (about 2,000 cases a year) of quality wines – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz, Viognier, Sangiovese and his Tre Fratelli Meritage. When you taste his wines, it’s clear he is dedicated to producing a superior wine.
Nick says he hopes to grow to a production of about 4,000 cases a year. He wants to be recognized not only in Temecula, but in the wine world as a quality wine producer. His focus is on the vineyards and growing super high quality grapes. After that, he believes in staying out of the way and letting the wine develop. Nick said “My right foot is art, my left foot is science and I’m right-footed.” Come meet Nick and Cindy. They’re good people who will make you feel right at home while they pour you some quality wine.