Vincenzo & Angelina Graziano
Vincenzo Graziano was born and raised in the beautiful rolling hills and vineyards in the Monferrato Region of the Piemonte Province of northwestern Italy. In the small hamlet of Portacomaro d’ Asti, Vincenzo was taught the art of being a winegrower by his family. Today our family in Italy still raises the local grapes of the region, Barbera, Grignolino and Moscato on very steep hillsides for wineries of the Asti region.
Vincenzo and his friend and future brother-in-law Charlie Comino, left poverty stricken Italy in 1907 for the promise land of America. After arriving in New York on Ellis Island, the pair slowly worked their way across America working in the coal mines of Pennsylvania and the grain fields of the Midwest, finally arriving in California where they worked as gardeners in the beautiful hills of Sausalito. In 1918 after years of saving their money, Vincenzo and Charlie purchased 100 acres of land for $25/acre, in the wilds of Mendocino County near the village of Calpella where they knew some families from their region back home.
That year, Vincenzo Graziano and Charlie Comino started clearing trees, then started planted vineyards in Mendocino County. In these early years, Angela Comino, Charlie’s sister came to America to marry Vincenzo Graziano. Soon, the Graziano family started the 2nd generation with oldest son Edward (Hugo), sister Adelena and Joseph Graziano, Greg’s father. As these vineyards started to produce grapes prohibition started and grape growers were allowed to sell their grapes to home winemakers around the country, especially back east in the large cities of Chicago and New York. During the 1920’s Vincenzo had to depend on selling these grapes to home winemakers on the east coast and bootlegging wine to support his family. There was also a family rumor that there was a still buried somewhere on the property, hidden from the revenuers. By the mid 1930’s after the appeal of prohibition and the depression, Vincenzo sold grapes to older established wineries such as Italian Swiss Colony and Gallo. After World War II, Vincenzo along with other local Mendocino grape growers formed the Mendocino Vineyards Winery, a traditional Italian co-op winery in the town of Ukiah. Wines made by this co-op winery were again mainly sold to Gallo and the Italian Swiss Colony. The winery was eventually sold and merged into the historically significant Cresta Blanca Winery, which was owned by the Guild Wineries and Distilleries of the central valley in California. During the 1950’s Vincenzo, his sons Hugo and Joseph and their sisters husband August established new vineyards in nearby Redwood Valley. All these vineyards were maintained by family members until the untimely death of Vincenzo after an accident in 1968. At this point the vineyards were split amongst family members, many which are still under Graziano family ownership.