Family and the holidays pair together like good food and fine wine.
Bringing both worlds together, family and wine, the McManis family took time away from the hectic holiday haze to talk to The Tasting Panel about their holiday traditions.
While the family has farmed in the San Joaquin Valley since 1938, their winery wasn’t founded until 1998. Their products officially entered the market in 2001 and are now sold in every U.S. state. The “secret” behind the McManis family’s success is hardly concealed. Their impressive estate-grown vineyards, which number 3,600 acres of premium grapes spanning from Clarksburg and Lodi to the River Junction AVA, yield 11 distinct offerings with an average retail price of $11. “As stories about the American dream go, ours is probably of the underdog who had the audacity to open up a winery and expect to succeed in such a competitive industry,” says fifth-generation grower Justin McManis (the son of founders Ron and Jamie McManis).
Tanya McManis, who is the office administrator and is also fifth-generation, told The Tasting Panel that it’s Ron and Jamie who also usually host holiday get-togethers, either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. “We love being able to have our immediate family together. Justin and I both have kids now, so it is fun to be able to watch them grow up together, and we know our parents enjoy it too,” Tanya said. She went on to speak more about how heartwarming it is to be able to see the holidays through her children’s eyes and experience the excitement on their faces.
The family keeps it traditional when it comes to the food they serve at holiday gatherings: turkey or prime rib with dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, and rolls–finished with some great desserts, of course. Julie, Ron’s mom, makes the best deviled eggs. Jamie is in charge of the main meal. Tanya loves to make green bean casserole and Stefanie, Justin’s wife, is in charge of dessert.
When it comes to pairing wine with their delicious spread the family believes good holiday wines should not overpower the food, just make it better. Jamie said they pair Chardonnay with the deviled eggs, Pinot Noir with the turkey, and Cabernet Sauvignon with the prime rib.
At the end of the day, or the meal, the holidays are much more about giving than receiving for the McManis family. Tanya remembers when she and her siblings were younger, their mother would always take them down to the mall to pick names from the giving tree to give back to families in need: “That is a tradition that I hope we can continue, and that our kids will continue too.”