Natalie Skelton, born in Rochester, New York in 1967, found fame as Savanna Samson, porn movie star. Improbably, she then parlayed her celebrity into becoming a winemaker. She had the platform and contacts to make her dream a reality. While dancing at the West Side strip club Scores, she contrived to meet wealthy Venezuelan wine merchant Daniel Oliveros, who had read about her winemaking ambition. They eventually married and Oliveros took her to Italy where his business was based. There he introduced her to Roberto Cipresso, a legendary winemaker, and the scene seemed to be set for Cipresso to make the wine and Natalie to market it using her sexy Savanna image. It was Daniel’s idea that Roberto and Natalie would make good working partners. In fact, she insisted on being involved and in putting her own stamp on more than just the label of Savanna Samson Wines.
So, at La Fiorita winery in Montalcino, there developed a mutually beneficial partnership between the rugged and experienced Cipresso and the more whimsical newcomer Natalie, who had a passion for unlikely blends. On her first day on the job she asked if she could experiment with different blends of local grapes, including international varieties, and make her own cuvée. Soon Cipresso found himself tasting various blends with her.
Along the way they rejected the inclusion of Merlot and Cabernet grapes as boring, and instead chose an ancient and out-of-fashion grape called Cesanese. Just as there had been those who doubted Natalie’s motives in marrying Daniel Oliveras, there were those who doubted that she could come up with a decent wine. In 2005, when her blend of 70% Cesanese, 20% Sangiovese and 10% Montepulciano won a 91-point rating by Robert Parker, she was vindicated. She called it Sogno Uno – Dream One.