The Seghesio Story
It began with the vision and determination of immigrants and continues today through stewardship of the land and community. Through five generations, Seghesio Family Vineyards has been proud to be part of the vibrant history and fabric of Sonoma County.
Our interactive timeline traces our history, from Edoardo’s vision and determination as an immigrant in Sonoma County through the hardship of Prohibition and the challenges of survival in the 20th and 21st century.
Edoardo Seghesio left his family's vineyards in Piedmont, Italy, to start a new life in America. Like so many immigrants, he was drawn to Northern Sonoma County, particularly the Italian Swiss Colony, where he could follow his passion for making wine.
Edoardo married Angela Vasconi, The Colony's manager's niece.
The young couple purchased a modest home in northern Alexander Valley, more for the surrounding 56 acres Edoardo recognized as ideal vineyard land than for the house. That year, they planted the “Home Ranch” to what has become our lifeline — Zinfandel.
Edoardo remained at the Colony, yet in the evenings after work, he began building his own winery. Upon the winery's completion, Edoardo resigned from the Colony, and the young couple began Seghesio Winery. Edoardo tended the vineyards and winemaking, while Angela managed the business, the household and their five children.
They acquired acreage surrounding the bustling train station in what was then Chianti, California. Edoardo planted the 10 acres to the Chianti field blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo Nero, Trebbiano and Malvasia. That vineyard, Chianti Station, is North America's oldest planting of Sangiovese.
In the years preceding Prohibition, the business flourished while the Seghesio family gained a reputation for quality wine and their generosity toward others in the fledgling wine industry.
Prior to Prohibition, convinced it could not last over a year, Edoardo decided to purchase his former employer, Italian Swiss Colony. With a 4 million-gallon-capacity winery and 1,100 acres of vineyards, the Colony was quite a value at $127,500. As Prohibition prevailed, however, the debt was too much for Edoardo to manage.
Edoardo brought in his son-in-law, Enrico Prati, and the Rossi family. Edoardo sold his shares to the partners in 1933 to return his focus to his original vineyards. Prior to Prohibition, more than 2,000 wineries operated in the United States. Seghesio is one of only 100 that survived.
Upon Repeal in December 1933, the Seghesio family once again opened the doors of the winery.
Edoardo passed away, leaving the winery and vineyards to Angela. Along with her sons Arthur, Frank and Eugene, Angela continued making wine and shipping via the railroad that ran through their property. With their hard-earned profits, they added vineyards to their landholdings.
To keep up with the growing demand for their wines, they purchased a second winery facility in Healdsburg, The Scatena Brothers Winery, bonded winery #56 which is still our home today. By this time, Arthur's sons Ed and Ray had joined the business.
Sonoma County's wine industry lost its matriarch when Angela passed away. Her legacy as an industry leader and a great chef lives on in her grandchildren.
The Seghesio family flourished in the bulk wine business, producing most of the red wine made in Sonoma County. At their largest, 1.7 million gallons were produced between the original winery in Chianti and the Healdsburg winery. Unknown to the public, the Seghesio family — particularly Eugene “Pete” and Ed — was the source of many popular wines of the time.
After nearly a century of grape growing and winemaking, the first wines were bottled under the Seghesio Family label at the hands of Ted Seghesio, a fourth-generation winemaker.
Pete's son, Peter, joined the business and began to set up a distribution network nationwide. The transition to the next generation was underway. Ted's brother, David, brought his contractor skills to the business, while brother-in-law Jim Neumiller assumed responsibility for the vineyards.
The Seghesio brand had experienced much success and grown to 130,000 cases of not only Zinfandel but many other varieties, too. The younger generation was entrusted control of the winery.
The family turned its focus to the vineyards and eliminated all but the wines grown on the estate, eventually reducing production to 30,000 cases. Seghesio had long been associated with value wines, but this move to “growing” great wine elevated Seghesio Family Vineyards to one of the world's finest wine producers.
The family's historic cellar, only the 56th bonded winery in California, was restored using materials original to the building, most significantly, the 85 redwood tanks in which wine had fermented for over a century.
Ted and Pete continue to preach quality over quantity. The vineyards collected over a century now comprise 300 acres in preeminent Sonoma County growing regions, representing some of the region's oldest vines and proprietary clones.
Seghesio Family Vineyards joined Crimson Wine Group. In addition to Ted as winemaker and Pete as Ambassador, several members of the Seghesio family hold positions, both in the vineyards and winery including fifth generation family member Ned Neumiller who serves as Seghesio's Grower Relations & Viticulture Manager.
Seghesio Family Vineyards continues to produce wines made almost exclusively from estate-owned and farmed vineyards, including those Edoardo and Angela first planted in the late 1800's.
Family members representing three generations are employed in the daily business united to share their unique heritage. We call it “Sharing Uncommon Ground,” yet it is simply our wish to continue Edoardo and Angela’s dream — to sustainably produce great estate wines from vineyards the family first tended in the late 1800's.