MENDOTA, Calif. - When you arrive it may look like you are driving down some dusty back roads. You will pass some open fields and maybe even a few tractors-- but you won't expect what you're about to see.
A piece of magic in Mendota tucked away off Panoche Road-- a destination right in the Central Valley's own backyard.
"We have wines across the board-- whites, reds, rose, sparkling," said Joseph Maldonado, winemaker.
"It's just a taste of Italy-- period," said Maria Davis, V.P. Private Events and Operations.
So if you are craving the European atmosphere and don't want to break your bank account this summer, then forget the itinerary to Italy and take a drive to Cardella Winery.
When you think of Mendota you might think of farmland, but a few turns off Highway 180 or Interstate 5 and you will find yourself in a little piece of wine country right here in the San Joaquin Valley.
The vision behind the vineyard comes from a father-son team-- Rod and Nathan Cardella who have been in the winemaking business since 2004 and based the winery on the place their family came from in the Tuscan region of Italy.
"As you can see from the cobblestones-- very authentic. We've had people come who've been to Italy and tell you, 'oh my gosh, this is just like when I visited,'" said Davis.
Plus, an option to pack your own picnic to pair with wine tasting flights ranging from $5 to $7
Aside from making award-winning wines, Cardella said they have about 15 different types to choose from.
"Albariño won gold and then the 2014 Barbera Reserve won best of show and the gold in the San Joaquin Valley Wine Competition," said Maldonado.
"You will see when you get here it's just a completely different atmosphere than what we are normally used to seeing here in the Valley," said Davis.