Maybe It's "Magic!"
Maybe it's because of Sue's grandfather, Luigi, making wine in his San Francisco's North Beach basement in 1910. Or, maybe it's due to Stephen's father, Frank, brewing beer and hard cider in his garage in San Diego in the early 1960's. Maybe it's just good fortune, or maybe it's magic!
How did these two unlikely candidates end up in the wine business? Stephen, born in England and raised in Southern California, met and married Sue, a native of South San Francisco, at the University of California at Davis over 45 years ago. Neither of us had any inkling of getting into the wine business despite Sue taking an introductory wine course at Davis from Maynard Amerine. However, Stephen's career moves during his 31 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indirectly led us to buying property on the Silverado Trail in St. Helena and to growing grapes.
One of Stephen's transfers moved them to Boston, MA where Sue found a job working for the City. Since Sue's job had a residency requirement, we bought a 130-year-old townhouse in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston. This was in the early 1980's just before real estate prices escalated. During the 16 years we lived in and then rented the property, its value increased significantly. We were able to use the profits from the Charlestown property to buy in St. Helena. We were looking for someplace that would work as rental property until we were able to retire in California. The house on the Silverado Trail was perfect for our needs, plus it came with a vineyard!
Getting grapes into the bottle and the bottle to the table was a challenge. It has been fun, sometimes frustrating and always expensive. However, as we sit on our porch after a day's labor in the vineyard and watch the sunset over the Mayacamas Mountains, we often have to pinch ourselves that we were really living out a dream. Our journey has been an unusual one. It really was "magic!"