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by Fred McMillin
The Pioneering Pedroncellis
Throughout its long history, the winery's philosophy has been to make affordable, well-balanced, easy-to-drink wines.
...James Laube's California Wine
But, they have broken plenty of new ground since 16-year-old Giovanni Pedroncelli (John Sr.) left Lombardy for California in 1906. Here are some examples.
The Rest of the Story—Milestones
1927—The outlook was bleak. Prohibition had been in effect 7 years. So a San Francisco grocer named John Canota put his Sonoma winery up for sale, (pictured). SOLD TO PEDRONCELLI!
1947—John Sr.'s bulk wine sales to neighbors and San Francisco restaurants had become so successful that he launched his own label.
1949—For the first time, the label read "Zinfandel."
1958—The Zinfandel was so successful, they (sons James and John Jr. were now deeply involved) made the first pink Zinfandel, forerunner of the White Zinfandel craze. Also, they soon recognized that the commonly-used redwood for aging was inferior to oak and decided to switch rather than fight.
The sons also were encouraged by the fact that earlier the first three wines they had entered in the California State Fair all won medals.
There were many other innovations, such as being the
first Northern Sonoma County winery to:
b) proudly add Sonoma County to their label.
Now, we want to add one more important step; in 1990 they planted Merlot. Those vines, along with some from an adjacent, friend's tract, are the source of our...
Wine of the Day
1997 Pedroncelli Merlot, Bench Vineyards
I conducted a tasting with John Jr. a few years ago. I found him very pleasant to work with, soft-spoken but a fountain of knowledge. Typical comment: "I want my wine to taste like grapes, not like lumber."
This page created May 2000