Louis J. Foppiano
When we look back on our lives, there are benchmark events that just stay in our minds forever, like indelible fingerprints. One important event for me ties into a father figure. It’s natural, therefore, as I contemplate Father’s Day to think of my quiet hero, Louis J. Foppiano.
On August 31, 2001, when I decided to become a consultant, versus continuing as an employee, Louis J. Foppiano believed in me enough to allow Foppiano Vineyards to become my very first wine client… ever.
This is akin to what fathers do with their children; i.e., give them a break when the rest of the world can be quite brutal. Truth-be-told, Louis J. is old enough to be my father; therefore, I can’t help but see him in that father figure role.
As I got to know Lou, I came to understand that as a Sonoma County vintner, a certain amount of respect is due the man who has dedicated his life to quietly making wine. It’s one thing to be born into this business. It’s another to stay the course and not allow oneself to be bought out by a major corporation hell bent on monopolistic strategies, most especially in today’s climate.
Lou and Toby
The Foppiano family has been in Russian River Valley since 1896, inaudibly farming the earth; not living ostentatiously, but rather as humble farmers. It’s a family that has an occasional spotlight shone in their direction, but their story is a simple one. It’s about a closely-knit family, with a sixth generation Foppiano having just been born, and doing what they do best… showing up at the winery every day to just get their jobs done.
For many writers looking for the salacious story-line, there’s not enough intrigue and romance here. No divorces, no millionaire corporate drop-outs, no sticky widgets in the closet– Just farmers connecting closely with the land, getting up each day, and simply doing it again… just like yesterday, all the way back to their homeland of Italy.
Still, for me, they’ve been a family that’s shown me nothing but respect, and a relationship that continues to grow with each passing day, and many opportunities to go along with the union.
I bow to the altar of Louis J. Foppiano… To the patriarch who launched my career, I’d like to say, Happy Father’s Day, my dear Mr. Louis J. Foppiano!