Cynthia Cosco

Cynthia Cosco

Passaggio Wines (Winemaker & Owner)

It took a while for Cynthia Cosco to find her way into winemaking. It wasn’t until she was 43-years-old in 2004 that she left a fifteen-year career in Law Enforcement to pursue her passion for winemaking, a decision that truly changed her life. The challenges ahead were great but this was something she yearned for in her life.

She launched her new career by landing a temporary job at a prestigious Sonoma winery, Chateau St Jean, for the harvest of 2004, and this was a dream come true for her. Her work ethic and pliable skills got her hired on full time as a wine chemist. She was working in the lab conducting wine analysis such as brix and temperature, pH, total acidity, and making additions of yeast to tanks and barrels. Having never had any college courses in chemistry, this was a daunting assignment. Fortunately, Chateau St Jean was willing to send her to the Napa Valley College Enology program, so after being away from higher education for 24 years, Cynthia found herself sitting among young college students and holding her own!

Three years at the winery and college courses in enology led Cynthia to decide it was time to pursue her dream of making her own wine. She heard of Crushpad, a custom-crush facility in San Francisco, and planned that fateful trip. She went to Crushpad’s Open House event in May of 2007. She talked to the head winemaker and explained to him what wine she wanted to make, namely an unoaked Chardonnay, a style that was not popular at the time. As they were talking, she accepted an offer to become Crushpad’s lab manager. She launched her first wine, an unoaked Chardonnay, in 2008, and founded Passaggio Wines. In 2010, she became the winemaker for the white wine program at Crushpad and made over 70 different white wines.

After working for Chateau St Jean as a wine chemist and lab manager and as a winemaker for Crushpad, Cynthia determined it was time to branch out on her own. So by 2011 she was working solely as the winemaker/owner of Passaggio Wines, honoring her grandfather’s passion that she now claims as her own. Her initial production of only 50 cases has already grown to some 1750 cases, well on the way to a target of 2500–3000 cases per year. She is currently producing a number of varietals, including Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Petit Verdot, and Aglianico, among others. Cynthia was named one of the Rising Stars for 2015 by the National Organization Women for Wine Sense.