CALIFORNIA WINE DYNASTIES
FOPPIANO...founded in 1896 by Giovanni Foppiano, a native of Genoa who emigrated to California in 1864 hoping to find gold. When his prospecting failed, he purchased a working winery called Riverside Farm, where Foppiano Vineyards stands today near Healdsburg. Today, the fourth and fifth generation of the family run the winery, which is best known for its Petite Sirah.
MIRASSOU...began in America in the early 1850s when Pierre Pellier settled in Santa Clara Valley and planted the grape cuttings he'd brought from his native France. In 1881, his daughter married neighboring vintner Pierre Mirassou, who joined Pellier in business. Their vineyards thrived, but the following generations faced epidemics, recessions and Prohibition. The fifth and sixth generation continue the family's tradition of winemaking even though they've sold the family name to Gallo.
NICHELINI...While other wineries have changed with the times, Nichelini Winery seems preserved in the past. In a historic winery clinging to the side of a mountain east of St. Helena, the Nichelini family makes 2,500 cases a year of wine, some from very old vines. Though the processing has been updated since Anton Nichelini founded the winery in 1890, the winery seems a museum. Joe Nichelini is the president, and his sister and cousins are part owners.
SEGHESIO...Italian immigrant Edoardo Seghesio planted his first vineyard in the Alexander Valley in 1895. Today his grandsons and great-grandsons farm 400 acres of vineyards in Alexander Valley, Russian River Valley and Dry Cree