Wine talk with Prima Materia Vineyard & Winery

Pietro Buttitta

The Prima Materia Podcast tackles issues in wine, winemaking, viticulture and vineyard practices, and the wine world in general, plus occasionally food topics with Prima Materia owner, winemaker, and former chef Pietro Buttitta and assorted colleagues. You can visit us and try our wines in Oakland, California.

Wine talk with Prima Materia Vineyard & Winery (Trailer)
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Aglianico goes back millennia, and has only recently been appearing on the radar in the United States. Here in California it is of particular interest due to its ability to tolerate extreme heat and survive with very little water. We go over its history in Campania and Basicilata before diving into Aglianico's surprisingly short history in California. Then we go deep into growing Aglianico in the vineyard, cellar practices, and then how it ages so gracefully. We also discuss tannins, minerality in red wines, and then go deep into food pairings, decanting, and what comes next for this noble red grape. This class was held in conjunction with Paul Robinson, a former sommelier turned wine educator and renegade retailer - check out his amazing selections at

Apr 9

1 hr 38 min

In this episode we tackle Sagrantino - Umbria's big red, and arguably Italy's most boisterous. With a relatively short history as a red wine, here we discuss Paolo Bea and Arnoldo Caprai and Sagrantino's new identity as a dry wine in the 1990's, now just entering its third wave. I spend quite a bit of time talking about growing Sagrantino, its striking predisposition toward high alcohol naturally, canopy management and crop loads, and then working with the grapes in the winery. Here tannin management becomes a focus. Then we enter discussions on natural wine, food pairings, cellaring and all things otherwise Sagrantino. This discussion was cohosted by Paul Robinson, a former sommelier turned wine educator and retailer at

Apr 9

1 hr 14 min

Rosé (and Rosato) has finally shot into the spotlight after years of disrespect. Here, through a focus on wines from Southern Italy, we discuss the history of rosé in France and Italy, in the vineyard, and I go deep into saignée versus direct press and their different effects in the winery. Food pairing is also a significant topic.  This class was held in conjunction with wine educator and sommelier Paul Robinson of - check out his new wine online wine shop for great Italian wines!

Apr 9

1 hr 44 min

Sangiovese is a very complicated grape, both in Italy and historically in California. It is a balancing act between acid and tannin, but very sensitive to climate and soil. It promises so much, but is famously fickle in delivery. Paul Robinson of Bottivino and I dive into a Sangiovese tasting that explores history, soil types, cellar practices, my vineyard experience with different clones and viticultural goals, and tasting specific bottles. Consider it a crash course from the sommelier perspective and my vineyard and winery point of view on this noble and often confusing grape.

Mar 14

1 hr 42 min

Everything you need to know about Barbera! This group Zoom discussion was put on by sommelier and wine educator Paul Robinson of Bottivino,  and Pietro Buttitta, owner/winemaker of Prima Materia Winery. We take a 2-hour deep dive into the history of Barbera in Piemonte and Monferrato, its history here in California, vineyard practices, winemaking techniques and challenges, and then a discussion on food pairing and descriptors, plus many diversions along the way. Prima Materia is concurrently releasing its 2018 vintage of Barbera today (the 2017 was tasted in this class), and the Italian wines discussed can be purchased from Bottivino. Links are below.

Jan 23

1 hr 52 min

Although this episode was technically focused on the topic of Southern Italian rosé, it managed to become more expansive, discussing some French rosé history, breaking down the technical aspects of saignée versus direct press or vin gris, and the general wide world of rosé and Rosato possibilities. We tasted an early-harvest Aglianico rosé from southern Campania (acid laser to the face,) a more fruit-driven Puglian Primitivo rosé, and our (Prima Materia's) third Rosato made of Barbera and Aglianico.

Aug 2020

1 hr 46 min

This was a fun discussion with Deborah Parker Wong, editor of the U.S. Slow Wine Guide. We discuss Lake County, a bit of Alchemy, soils, and take a dive into our Sagrantino, Refosco, and Negro Amaro.

Aug 2020

20 min 16 sec

We tackle Sangiovese in our ongoing series, talking about soil types, how California besmirched this beautiful grape in to 90's, why it is so challenging in the vineyard, and what the future may hold. You can learn more about our specific bottling of it at

May 2020

19 min 54 sec

Barbera is a unique grape with special qualities that make it quite suited to California. Here we talk about it in the vineyard, a little about it in the Old County, its nature in California's sunny climates and its odd history as well. You can learn more about our specific bottling of it by visiting

May 2020

24 min 17 sec

We dive deep into our newest wine club release, talking about vineyard and winery practices and tasting our newest club selection with owner, winemaker, and grower Pietro Buttitta. Take a deep dive into Negroamaro, Grenache, Chardonnay, a red blend of Sangiovese/Primitivo/Dolcetto, and the unique style of Pinot Grigio Ramato from Friuli. You can learn more about the wines and vineyard at

Apr 2020

30 min 35 sec

This informal "class" traces the general history of Italian grapevine planting in California, both North and South, with part 1 focusing on Sangiovese, Barbera and Nebbiolo, the importance of the Italian Swiss Colony, the work of the UC system in 1880-1890, and eventually the amazing planting by Guasti in Cucamonga. It is a very lose and general history for a casual group tasting, but gives some flavor to the development of the wine industry up to Prohibition.

Feb 2020

1 hr 7 min

Part 2 continues our wine-based historical narrative from Prohibition on, and includes comparative tastings of Primitivo, Refosco, and Aglianico. Thanks for listening and you can check out the wines at

Feb 2020

1 hr 12 min

Big thanks to Dan Dawson the Wine Advisor ( for hosting a night with Prima Materia at the Napa Valley Wine Academy. We spend some time discussing the unique attributes of Lake County as a growing region and then get into a comparative tasting that compares our Sangiovese, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Refosco and Aglianico and similarly priced representatives from the Old World. We also dive into some agricultural details, clonal and rootstock aspects, and a few other tasting details. You can check out the wines at Enjoy!

Feb 2020

1 hr 53 min

An early-morning checkin covering the 2019 wine vintage thus far in Lake County, discussing harvesting and approaches to making rosé, heat and viticulture, stem inclusion in fermentation, Aglianico clonal differences, the 2018 vintage and smoke issues and a few other topics

Oct 2019

28 min 32 sec

In the final part of the seminar we start talking more about wine itself, sugars, oak, the confusing complexity of alcohol, winemaking tricks and defects, and then unfortunately a very rushed survey of wine and food pairing, special wines and the importance of identifying defects.

Oct 2019

45 min 28 sec

In this second part of the wine seminar we discuss tasting wine specifically, varietal trademarks, looking at wine, how your nose works, what our palate sensations are like, building a vocabulary and other related sensory issues.

Oct 2019

45 min 52 sec

This episode is part one of a 3-hour wine seminar I present to a group of mid-level wine enthusiasts. In this part we cover a bit of wine history and context, tasting descriptors, types of wine tasters and their predispositions, and then a condensed survey of basic viticulture and vineyard overviews and then a winemaking survey of basic procedures for making whites, reds and rosé.

Oct 2019

1 hr 5 min

Thanks for tuning in - this is an early-morning episode on a bottling day where I'll be discussing bottling preparation, Chardonnay, sulfur-free wine, and the 2018 grape harvest in Lake County.

Oct 2019

20 min 55 sec