The J. McClelland Cellars Squad
John McClelland, Mitch Cosentino, Paul Scotto and the Scotto family welcome you to J. McClelland Cellars.
Together, we rely on five generations of winemaking history to focus on limited production releases from the prestigious Napa Valley Appellation so you can fill your glass with the finest expressions of the vineyard.
Five Generations of Winemaking History
The Scotto family's vinous heritage and history dates back to 1883 when Salvatore Dominic Scotto, an officer in the Italian Navy, began making wine at their home on the Island of Ischia just off the coast of Italy. In addition to making wine for his family (a long-held custom in Italy), Salvatore also treated his friends and neighbors to the fruits of his labor.
Salvatore passed on the winemaking tradition to his son Dominic who in 1903, migrated to Brooklyn, NY, taking up residency in a brownstone near the docks where he was a ships caulker. He followed the Scotto family tradition by sharing his winemaking skills with his sons, and they began selling five gallon crocks from the family's horse-drawn wagon. In 1946, they opened D. Scotto Wines, a retail store in downtown Brooklyn that sold quality wines from around the world.
After Prohibition Anthony Sr. began selling his father's homemade wine in one gallon jugs from pushcarts and later, with his older brother Sal, created Villa Armando (nicknamed Rustico). Still in production today, it is one of the country's oldest brands and has filled more than 200,000,000 glasses with a traditional Old World Italian Red. Just after harvest in 1963 the family moved across the country to California.
Anthony II entered the family's wine business in 1975 while in his teens and with "a bit of Villa Armando in his blood," he eventually became not only a winemaker and winery owner but also an exporter and consultant. He passed his skills and experience along to the 5th generation who created three separate but complimentary wine companies. Today, Anthony III, Natalie, Paul and Michael share a vision of operating their various wine businesses with an eye toward the 6th generation.
Anthony III is CEO of Scotto Cellars. Paul Scotto is Director of Winemaking for all Scotto Family brands and his own Sera Fina Cellars from Amador County. Natalie Scotto-Woods is COO and Operations Director of Scotto Cellars and Proprietor of Steele Canyon Cellars, and Michael Scotto is Production and General Manager Scotto Cellars. Together this fifth generation is continuing to build strong relationships with both trade and consumers while expanding distribution throughout the U.S. and eleven export markets.
John is widely recognized as an iconic figure in the California wine industry. Having put his permanent stamp on many facets of the industry, he is regarded as one of it’s un-sung heroes with six decades of service and innovation in winemaking, vineyard management, national sales, marketing and brand development.
He served as Chairman of the California Wine Institute and has held leadership positions in the Wine Growers Association, Association of Wine Educators and was named a Supreme Knight in Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine. He has held numerous senior positions including President of both Almaden and Geyser Peak and General Manager of Alderbrook.
John was born in New York City and grew up in Long Island. At 15 his family moved to Southern California where he later graduated from UCLA with a degree in English literature. While his degree did not directly lead to his stellar wine industry career, it did cement his love of writing and quest for learning more about the history of wine and its cultural impact.
After graduation John's first job in the industry was with Robert Mondavi at the Charles Krug Winery. From there he went to industry leader Almaden while in his early twenties and stayed for 25 years, serving as president for the last six. He also spent several years in Brazil where he worked on a successful winery start-up in the late 1970s. His impact on consumer education, wine placement and sales is still felt in both domestic and imported wines and he remains widely recognized throughout the trade.
Reflecting upon his six decades in the wine industry John notes, "I feel privileged to have been involved in most of the appellations throughout California while also gaining broad experience with the wine industry worldwide."
John has always believed: "for a winery to succeed at any level it must combine quality, value, continuity and diversity." This philosophy undeniably embodies his vision for J. McClelland Cellars.
Paul grew up in Pleasanton, CA ("just hanging out in my grandfather's winery") where he learned about the Scotto family's four generations of winemaking history dating back to 1883 in Ischia, Italy. To fulfill his destined role within this great tradition for the fifth generation, Paul attended UC Davis where he refined his winemaking and business skills.
However, prior to joining the family wine business he wanted some independent experience. After graduating in 2002 Paul joined the winemaking team at a widely respected Russian River Valley Pinot Noir producer. Next followed a stint with the Vermeer Company selling vineyard equipment and broadening his winegrowing knowledge.
Paul joined his family in 2009 as the director of winemaking for their Lodi, Amador and eventually Napa Valley wineries where he continued his passion for the creation of small lot premium wines focusing on the vineyard's expression in the finished product. Paul's enviable award winning portfolio includes numerous wines from all three wineries including both varietal examples and finely balanced blends.
In 2010 he launched his own Sera Fina Cellars in the historic Gold Rush community of Amador to focus primarily on Italian and Rhone varietals and blends. Paul's love of blending and innovation carried him beyond his vinous history to another "unique adult beverage" that has taken off under his tutelage alongside the Scotto family wines.
In 2014 Paul teamed-up with his brother Michael to pursue this "second" love of premium hand-crafted ciders with the launch of The Cider Brothers portfolio produced in the family's Lodi winery. Along with the traditional hard apple ciders everyone expected, he expressed his love of blending with the pioneering combination of Pinot Grigio and apple cider. This novel idea generated a roaring reception among consumers and critics and continues on with other cider creations as well.
When not working feverishly in the vineyard and winery (or avidly following the Golden State Warriors), Paul cherishes his time with his wife Whitney and their three energetic sons Dante, Luca and Carlo and enjoys a wide variety of sports and family outings.
Paul's energy and commitment drive him to pursue the family's stellar history for the fifth generation as a guiding force for J. McClelland Cellars.
Mitch grew up in Modesto, California and launched his four decade long winemaking career in 1980 in his home town. He moved to Napa Valley in 1990 and eventually established his eponymous Cosentino Winery in Yountville. After its sale Mitch established pureCru Napa Valley and in 2014, joined the Scotto family and John McClelland as Consulting Winemaker for the launch of J. McClelland Cellars.
Mitch is the personification of a "hands-on" winemaker with his never ending drive and oversight from the vineyard to bottle and on to the glass. With his far-reaching expertise, Mitch has garnered almost 2000 awards and medals including the prestigious "Andre Tchelistcheff Winemaker of the Year" award in 2003 and numerous awards for "Best Wine" and "Best Cabernet" of the year in multiple vintages and competitions.
With foresight of things to come in the market, Mitch broke new ground with the founding of the Meritage Association (now known as the Meritage Alliance) in 1988 and produced the first American wine bottled with that designation.
Mitch is widely recognized in the international winemaking community for his blending skills, deep connection with the vineyard and amazing palate memory. He artfully combines these great skills in each of the wines he crafts exhibiting the distinctive expression of the vineyard and varietal (or mix of varietals) in precise balance.
Mitch has expanded his role beyond the vineyard and winery into wine education, lecturing on wine and winemaking at several colleges and universities and at the request of the Italian government, speaking at the first World Conference for Nebbiolo in Italy. He has also judged many competitions both domestically and abroad.
According to Mitch, if he could share a glass of wine with anyone it would be his grandmother Francesca. "She lived to 108 and enjoyed a glass of red wine every day of her wonderful life."
Combining his "hands-on" tradition with a pledge to time honored Old World techniques, Mitch is committed to crafting small lots of extraordinary wines. A perfect fit with the Scotto family's vision for J. McClelland Cellars.