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Early 20th Century, the Italian Influence

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Almost without exception, the new wineries established in Dry Creek Valley during the first two decades of the 20th century were built by Italian families from Lucca. In 1902 A. Capelli built a 10,000- to 20,000-gallon winery, and in 1905 the 50,000-gallon Canata winery opened on Canyon Road. A year later, the lone exceptions to the Italian influence, Bagley and Petray built their 60,000-gallon winery near Lambert Bridge (Florence 1993:52).

In 1907 Domencio and Angelo Lencioni built separate 10,000- to 20,000-gallon wineries. First running a vineyard for Pietro Simi, and then with a gift of $3,500 from him, Angelo purchased 160 acres from A.D. Passalacqua, selling grapes, wine, and brandy to Simi Winery that fall. In 1901, Domencio purchased 120 acres from George Black (7400 West Dry Creek Road), and four years later began construction of his winery, opening just in time for the 1907 crush (Florence 1993:53, 55).

In 1907 also, John Reiners opened his 100,000-gallon winery (4980 Dry Creek Road), planting Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane, Golden Chasselas, Grand Noir, and Alicante Bouche grapes. Nearby, his sister Mary and her husband Robert Plasberg started their 20,000-gallon winery about the same time (4791 Dry Creek Road). When Prohibition was enacted, John’s winery was filled to capacity with wine and he shipped to home winemakers to alleviate some of his debts. His 100,000 gallons, retained in the hopes of repeal, burned spectacularly in a fire in 1931.

In 1908 the Del Carlo Winery opened at 9512 West Dry Creek Road, making only red wine  using Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and some Burger as a blend. The place is now the residence of his grandson, Gary Teldeschi, a winemaker.

In 1907, Ernie Gaddini, who had first built his Laurel Springs Winery in 1890, moved to Dry Creek when it burned to the ground. In 1909 the family opened a new 100,000-gallon winery (1960 Dry Creek Road). A few years later, in 1913, the Sarzotti Winery opened on Kochs Road off West Dry Creek Road. Sarzotti also produced red wine from a blend, shipped in 50-gallon barrels to San Francisco for sale. The elder Sarzotti died in 1925, and the winery never reopened after the 1933 repeal.

The last winery to open before Prohibition was that of Paul Stefani, two years later, on Canyon Road. Another smaller winery was opened by the family the next year. The Pieroni Winery was located next door to the Angelo Lencioni place on Lytton Springs Road (Florence 1993:57).

By 1915 Sonoma County had regained from Napa County the ranking as the “leading dry wine producing county” in California; nearly one-half of the production came from the Healdsburg area. From that time to Prohibition, thirteen wineries were noted as operating in Dry Creek: Frei Bros., Patronek, Gaddini, Reiners, Hallengren, Kelley, Stefani, Bagley & Petra, Lencionis, Capelli, Pieroni, Kiners, Thomsen (Bros.), and Galloway Bros. (Heintz 1985:42-43).