For Jason Passalacqua, owner of Passalacqua Winery in Healdsburg, owning a winery means having the opportunity to blend his love for both the outdoors and nature. The Passalacqua family has generations of experience making wine in Sonoma County, and a keen taste for Cabernet isn’t the only pastime Jason’s father and grandfather passed along to him. Hunting has been a huge part of Jason’s life for as long as he can remember and harmonizes with his passion for wine in a unique way.
Since the 1800s, Jason’s family has been living in the Healdsburg area, cultivating a deep love of the land for hunting, growing grapes, foraging, gardening, clay shooting, and simply enjoying. During Jason’s childhood, the seasons weren’t determined by weather, but instead by game: the fall for deer and elk, the winter for duck and geese, then turkey and pig year-round. Whether wet in the duck blind with his trusty retriever at his side or tracking an elk with his father and a bow for days on end in the cold snow, Jason loves the challenge of a hunt and has a strong appreciation for the land he does it on.
Italian by blood, Jason and his family have always cooked and eaten everything they’ve grown and hunted, searing tender wild duck with his father and filling butternut squash raviolis with his grandmother. Bottles of wine were always at the table, fostering Jason’s connection between wild game and wine from an early age. And so, Passalacqua wine is inspired by Jason’s passion for the outdoors and the land, to enhance everyday life. With a vision to be enjoyed out in nature—whether paired with wild game or an Adirondack chair with a view of the rolling hills—Passalacqua’s wine is known as the “wine for the wild”.
When he’s not hunting or tending to grapes at the winery, Jason also forages mushrooms in the wet winter months, gardens fruits and vegetables in the summer, and raises horses, lambs, and chickens with his kids. Just like his grandmother, he stores jars of homemade jams and fermented vegetables. Jason’s passion for the wild, undeveloped land is seen in how he grows grapes to make wine, hunts, forages, and gardens to eat, and the way he teaches his kids to do the same — appreciate the land and life of Sonoma County, CA.