When it comes to premium wines, the Italians really do know their craft. This has never been truer than it is at F. Teldeschi Winery in California. California wine country is already known for the many outstanding wines produced there, but this family really has caught our attention. Their story is one of hardship, struggle, and a strong passion for their heritage and their craft. This is why we’ve chosen to feature them.
This winery, as of today, was a century in the making. Yes, we said a century. That time covers a great deal of strife, hard work, and dedication that seems to be imbued in every single bottle of wine they now produce. Their story starts out in Italy before World I was even conceived of. Michele Teldeschi came to the United States from Casabasciana, Italy and began working for Sargenti Brothers in Dry Creek Valley. Serving as the Vineyard Manager for them, he came to learn of the hardships many immigrants face when starting out in a new country.
However, he did not allow his management role to affect the way he treated others. Working right alongside many Mexican immigrants, he appreciated the struggles of every individual and worked hard to earn his place in the new world. Along with his brother, Lorenzo, he eventually opened a small winery and they sold their wares to a local bulk purveyor. Although Lorenzo returned to Casabasciana, the family was destined to eventually gather together in California.
Now, we mentioned that these folks history is steeped in tradition and we weren’t kidding. When World War I broke out, Lorenzo joined the Italian army, married a lovely woman from home, and eventually had a son whom they also named Michele. They eventually returned to the United States, but not until Lorenzo had been mistaken for dead and walked back into town to surprise everyone there. Another son was born, Franco, and in 1922 the entire family relocated back to Dry Creek.
Emigration became difficult during Mussolini’s rule, but in 1929 they were finally able to bring the rest of the family from Italy. Sadness struck a few years later when both elder Michele and Lorenzo passed away within just a few months of each other. However, the family persevered, as it always had from the day Michele set foot on American soil. Younger Michele (Mike) and Franco (Frank) worked together to keep the vineyard going and both served in the Army during World War II.
We mentioned tradition a few times already, but we’d like to point out where this is coming from. Just as Lorenzo had done, Frank returned to Casabasciana to find a wife. It seems that the small burg, although not rich in money or accouterments, was certainly rich in culture and happiness, and this is what the family holds tightly to. Frank returned to the United States right away, and his new wife, Caterina, followed soon after. Their daughter, Nancy, was born just short of 10 months later, much to the joy of her parents.
While you may think that this trend would end there, you’re wrong. Later on, Frank was finally able to bring Caterina’s mother to the U.S., which made the family stronger still. Caterina immediately immersed herself in helping at the vineyards. Although a bit of ping-pong occurred where sales were concerned, with Frank choosing to change to whom they sold, eventually the sales came full circle back to their original contract with Frei Brothers. This relationship is significant, as Frei Brothers later became Gallo, a name well-known in the winemaking industry.
Yes, Gallo was producing wines from Teldeschi grapes. This should easily explain why we expected Teldeschi wines to be amazing. Their grapes are of the utmost quality and their traditions run deep. This had led to growing and production values that hold true, from the start of their journey to today. In between this time, a new winemaker stopped in to speak to Frank about purchasing some grapes. A new connection was made (over a delicious bottle of homebrewed Teldeschi wine) and eventually Teldeschi Zinfandel became the cause of Ravenwood’s boom in the 1980’s. Indeed, both Gallo and Ravenwood were producing Teldeschi wines long before anyone knew how great these growers were.
When Frank passed away, his sons Dan and John took up the banner of the family. Although Dan took some time away to learn more about the craft and later returned to open his own small operation on the property, both have continued their fathers and forefathers traditions of making delicious wine.
Today, Caterina still owns the Teldeschi vineyards, while John manages them with expert care. Through several generations of toil and hardship, an outstanding estate has been born, evolved, seen troubles and joys, and continued on to produce the amazing Zinfandel that Michele Sr. had always envisioned.
We highly suggest that you consider purchasing a few bottles of Teldeschi premium wines for your rack, as we already know how delicious they truly are. You can nearly taste the love that goes into every bottle and owning such a heartfelt piece of history is well-worth it.
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