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A look back into our past
Each generation had the vision to see real opportunity,
has taken huge risks, and adapted to continue
the traditions of our family.
– Mike SANGIACOMO
We are proud to continue our family’s farming tradition. We would not be where we are today without the knowledge and values we learned from our grandparents, parents, uncles, and aunt. And we continue to plant seeds to enable future generations of our family to build upon this legacy.
Historical Agricultural Property
Our Home Ranch is a historic agricultural property dating back to the mid-1800s. A flour mill was believed to have been established on the Home Ranch in the 1840s, utilizing water from the creek. The land has been farmed ever since.
First Commercial Plantings
The first commercial plantings began in 1872 when two San Francisco merchants, Howe & Hall, bought 88 acres for $14,160 and established the Eden Dale ranch where they cultivated wine grapes, table grapes, and fruit trees on the land that is now known as our Home Ranch. The ranch was expanded to nearly 400 acres over the next ten years. Howe, son of an aide to George Washington during the Revolutionary War, ultimately became a State Senator first representing San Francisco and then later Sonoma Valley. In 1889 he was sent from Sonoma to the State Assembly and was elected Speaker.
Vittorio Sangiacomo Sets Sail for America
Our great grandfather urged Vittorio to seek a better life in America. Vittorio borrowed $200 from his mother and traveled alone, at age 17, to America. After arriving at Ellis Island, he traveled by train to San Francisco to rejoin his father who was already settled there.
Vittorio Gets to Work
Vittorio immediately began working at an Alameda truck farm, cultivating peas, lettuce, corn, & tomatoes, earning $1/day plus room and board. Within a year, he had saved enough to repay his mother the $200 he borrowed to come to America.
Vittorio Discovers Sonoma Valley
In the early 1920s Vittorio began visiting a friend in Sonoma. Together they loved soaking in the hot mineral baths at Boyes Hot Springs. Through the course of these visits, he fell in love with Sonoma Valley and began hatching a plan to move there.
Vittorio Purchases the Home Ranch
Vittorio found an award-winning ranch that he knew he could call home. He purchased the ranch in 1927, just 14 years after arriving in America. A farmer at heart, he was thrilled to return to the land. The ranch was planted to apples, pears, peaches, prunes and cherries. Over time he began to focus on the cultivation of pear trees.
Wedding Bells and a Family Begins
Once Vittorio had the property in escrow, it was time to get married. Maria and Vittorio Sangiacomo immigrated from Italy, met and married in San Francisco, and settled on the home ranch in 1927. She was 19 and he was 32. They were the first members of our family to till this soil.
A Growing Family
By 1937, our grandparents had given birth to four children: Lorraine, Angelo, Buck and Bob.
Growing Up on the Ranch
Like most ranches even today, our grandparents depended greatly on the help of their four children. Angelo, Buck and Bob worked long hours after school, weekends and summers pruning trees and picking and sorting fruit while Lorraine helped her mother in the kitchen and garden.
Growing the Business
After the war, Vittorio steadily bought or leased more land to plant pear trees in order to support a growing family. He was devoted to growing the business large enough to give all his children the opportunity to work in the family business. To that end, he purchased the neighboring Catarina Ranch in 1952. At the time Catarina was planted to hay and ten acres of prunes which were quickly replanted to pears.
Angelo, Buck, Bob, and Lorraine — then in their twenties — began to take over the daily operations of the business in the 1950s. Following in their father’s footsteps, they continued to carefully select and acquire more land in order to continue to grow the business.
Gradually the family business became one of the largest pear growing operations in California. Most fruit was packed and shipped to canneries.
As the business grew, so did the family. Angelo met and married Diane in 1968, a year before the first vineyard was planted.
First Vineyard Planted
Our family knew the pear market was softening but the decision to shift from cultivating pears to wine grapes was a risky one. And rather than jumping in head first, we initially waded into the market. Green Acres, planted in 1969, was our first vineyard.
We purchased the land from the Millerick Family in 1969. The deal came at the perfect time as we were beginning to see our pear business fall into serious decline. This vineyard allowed us to get a feel for the grape business before fully making the transition from pear growing to grape growing.
Soon Angelo and Diane had three young kids — Mike, Steve and Mia —who all fell in love with the ranch and being a part of the family business.
First Vineyard Designated Wine Released
Over time, the market for pears was getting even tougher. Airfreight and improved technology in food refrigeration meant that canneries – our main customers – were on the decline.
Ten years after our first vineyard was planted, the first wine to carry the Sangiacomo Vineyards designation was produced by Gundlach Bundschu. Today, more than 35 wineries produce wines that feature the Sangiacomo Vineyards designation.
First Grapes Planted on the Home Ranch
Our family has farmed this soil since 1927 and we consider it to be the heart and soul of our family business. We first cultivated fruit trees — most especially pears — and gradually transitioned to grapes. We planted our first vineyard here in 1980. Over the next thirty years we purchased several adjoining pieces of land to expand the existing Home Ranch to its current size of 110 planted acres of vineyards.
Conversion to Vineyards Completed
The conversion from pear orchards to vineyards was completed in 1981, just four years before the collapse of the pear market.
When our family purchased Catarina in 1952, it was planted to hay and ten acres of prunes. The purchase was absolutely essential to the growth of our business to accommodate the next generation of our family. In the early days we continued to farm the existing prune trees, eventually planting the first vineyards in 1982. Catarina was fully converted to vineyards in 1982.
Vittorio Passes Away
Our beloved grandfather, Vittorio, whose sweat and toil enabled us to have what we have today, passed away in 1987.
First Annual Sangiacomo Tasting
The first annual Sangiacomo tasting was held in 1989 and continues to this day. All winemakers who purchase Sangiacomo grapes are invited to come together for a joint tasting to share wine samples, best practices, conversation and a meal.
Expansion into Petaluma Gap Region
Lakeville Vineyard was planted in 1990. It was a radical departure for our family as its location is outside of the Sonoma Valley region where we had been farming since 1927. We recognized its potential though and it was one of the first parcels to be replanted to vines during a re-birth of the Petaluma Gap region.
Mike Joins the Family Business
Mike Sangiacomo, the oldest of Angelo and Diane’s three children, became the first of the third generation to join the family business.
El Novillero and Tallgrass Vineyards
El Novillero and Tallgrass Vineyards are both parts of the Donnell Ranch, a historic agricultural property dating back to the mid-1800s owned by the Donnell family. In 1993 a long-term relationship was formed between our family and the three Donnell siblings and their families that continue to this day. The timing was perfect for us as we faced the challenge of keeping grape supplies going for long-term relationships while replanting several of the original vineyards due to Phylloxera.
Amaral Vineyard is named after a Portuguese family who farmed it for pasture and hay. The Amaral family sold the land to a partnership who planted it to a vineyard in 1984, who in turn sold it to our family in 1997. The vineyard was fully replanted in 2003.
Steve Joins the Family Business
Steve Sangiacomo, the second oldest of Angelo and Diane’s three children, joined his brother, father and uncles and aunt in the family business in 1997.
Roberts Road Vineyard
Roberts Road Vineyard is located in the far northern section of the Petaluma Gap region of Sonoma County. It was the second vineyard that we developed in this region. Largely unknown at the time, Petaluma Gap is now widely recognized as producing some of the finest cool-climate grapes in California. Roberts Road Pinot Noir grapes are amongst the most prestigious that our family cultivates.
Fedrick Vineyard is owned by the Fedrick Family. In 2000 our two families created a partnership to develop a leased vineyard. It was the last vineyard we planted during the large expansion phase for our business.
Bob Passes Away
Bob Sangiacomo, youngest of Vittorio and Maria’s children, passed away in 2006 at age 68. He was eternally dedicated to our family and the business.
Mike Pucci Joins the Family Business
Mike Pucci met and married Mia Sangiacomo in 2004. He joined the family business two years later.
Viticulture Award of Excellence
In 2009, the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission awarded our family the Viticultural Award of Excellence.
100% Certified Sustainable
We have employed many sustainable methods of farming ever since we began cultivating our soil in 1927. Over the decades we have gradually increased these practices. We are proud to say that in 2015 we attained 100% sustainable certification for all of our vineyards granted by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA).
First Vintage of Sangiacomo Family Wines
in 2016, our family produced the first vintage of our namesake wines, crafted from small lots of fruit from our finest vineyards in Carneros, Petaluma Gap, Sonoma Coast and Napa Valley. The first vintage was released in the spring of 2018.
Stay in touch
Uncork our family legacy and experience exceptional hand-crafted wines from Sonoma Coast, Carneros, Petaluma Gap and Napa Valley. Available first by allocation to our members, new wines are released in the spring and fall of each year. We have a quarterly newsletter to help everyone stay connected. Sign up and keep up to date on upcoming wine releases and special events. You don’t want to miss out!