Kent Rosenblum was a veterinarian living in San Francisco's East Bay when he started making wine in his basement in 1972. It didn’t take long for his newfound hobby to morph into a passion that could not be ignored. In 1978, Rosenblum Cellars opened in Alameda, California, a place known more for its docks and shipyards than for winemaking. But then again, Kent Rosenblum, “The King of Zin,” always did things a little differently from the status quo.
When most of the established wineries in California were focused on their estate-grown wines, Kent chose to explore some of the unrecognized and underappreciated grape-growing areas of Northern California. He met families who had been growing grapes for generations; dedicated growers passionate about their vineyards who worked tirelessly to grow the best grapes possible from old vines their families had planted years before. Kent took grapes back to Alameda and began to make wines, acknowledging the contributions of his friends by placing the vineyard’s name on the bottle. Working out of a factory building near the docks, Kent and his crew looked more like longshoremen than winemakers. But the wine they made spoke for itself, making it one of the first urban wineries in California to become a popular tourist destination.
From single vineyards in Sonoma and Alexander Valley to strictly selected regional blends, Rosenblum Cellars has made more than 50 Zinfandels earning 90 or more points from Wine Spectator. Kent’s distinctive style put Zinfandels on the map and helped inspire new generations of winemakers.
In 2018, Kent passed away unexpectedly leaving an undeniable hole in the wine industry. His commitment to crafting bold wines and recognizing California’s historic vineyards is a legacy that will endure. And to honor his memory, Rosenblum Cellars has entrusted Charlie Tsegeletos to continue Kent’s vision.
Charlie Tsegeletos’s successful career in the wine industry spans over 40 years. He started his winemaking journey in 1980 after graduating with a degree in Agricultural Science and Management from the University of California at Davis. He enjoyed winemaking roles at Pendleton Winery, Hacienda Wine Cellars, and D’Agostini Winery prior to joining Glen Ellen Winery where he held the position of Senior Director of Winemaking for 15 years.
In 2002, Tsegeletos joined Cline Family Cellars and managed all winemaking, production operations, and grower relations. During his tenure, he played a critical role in building the company’s portfolio of nationally and internationally recognized wine brands including Cline Family Cellars, Cashmere, Farmhouse, and Jacuzzi Family Vineyards. He also produced and helped launch the highly successful brand, Red Truck wine in 2003, which the company later sold to Bronco Wine Company.
In 2007 when Jacuzzi Family Vineyards launched, Tsegeletos spearheaded the winemaking program, developing over 20 wines made from unique Italian varieties. He partnered with family-owned growers who helped preserve these lesser-known varieties throughout Northern and Central California. Tsegeletos collaborated with these growers to ensure the unique flavor characteristics of each varietal were maintained, and he enhanced the flavors in the cellar by embracing Italian winemaking traditions.
At Cline he successfully grew the winery production from seven to thirty-five wines for the domestic wholesale, export, and direct-to-consumer channels and in 2021, Charlie announced his retirement. Tsegeletos was past President of the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance, mentored many men and women in the wine business, served on wine judging panels, and continues to be a well-respected member of the Sonoma community.
With such deep roots in the industry, Charlie realized quickly it was hard to stay away. In Spring 2022, he came out of retirement as Head Winemaker for Rosenblum Cellars. His love and appreciation for Rhône style wines makes him the perfect addition to carry on Kent Rosenblum's vision and legacy.