Pedroncelli Winery ~ An Italian Tradition

Italian families have been drawn to Northern California since the Gold Rush frenzy. Word had traveled back to Italy about this Mediterranean climate, and perhaps a chance to reinvent was more appealing, than “being born, living, and dying in the same place as all those before you.” If the United States is the land of opportunity, California is truly its epicenter…

Bad pun? Maybe, but I’ve certainly found this to be true. If I were still in Maine, I know I’d still be writing poetry about the mighty pines behind my house dropping more pine cones in my yard.

Moving to California has opened up my flood gates for writing. At every turn, there’s something else to write about.
One place that I love to visit is

Pedroncelli Winery, one of those early Italian settler families to Geyserville, California. The Pedroncellis have been here since 1927. I’ve known Julie Pedroncelli St. John since 1994. We met because I was gathering images for my winery cat story. I was sick to death of reading about cabs (it’s never been my favorite variety), when all I could see were cats, every time I went to another winery. I knew so little about Cabernets then, but I knew a lot about cats. Wine magazines weren’t straying from wine stories, near as I could tell, but I wasn’t from California – nor the wine industry – so it was natural for me to just stray toward what I knew… cats, as I learned more about wine.

When I submitted a query to The Wine News about giving them a winery cat image for their back page “Grape Scapes,” Kathy Ferguson-Sinnes called me to discuss my story as a feature, not just one image of a winery cat. That’s when I learned that The Wine News has always thought outside of the usual box. The Wine News ran the first story I’d every read about something other than wine. They published Cat O’Wine Tales, and a second story was also in that issue about integrated pest management.

A wine magazine straying? I loved it. Apparently their readers did too, as we soon learned in their Letters to the Editor responses.

I can thank Julie for helping me to be launched as a wine writer, even though it was about an observation back then (cats), not about wine (cabs). She believed in my ludicrous request to photograph her cats. Julie’s a cat person. There was the connection, and there was Tilly, sprawled out in her office the day I arrived to photograph her two cats… right on cue.

As with all organizations, the PS I Love You group has a core group that jumps right in when something’s offered. Julie St. John is one of those people. So, it should be no surprise that when I put out the message about Sgt. First Class Chery Dupris, the American soldier returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, that Julie volunteered her time and hospitality.

Cheryl and I had just visited Dan Teldeschi’s winery, as and we left, we invited him to jump into our limo for the day. The car was donated by friends Gary and Jennifer Buffo, proprietors of Pure Luxury Transportation in Petaluma). Off the three of us went to meet with Julie, before we also headed over to Field Stone Winery. Cheryl got to taste her Petite Sirah, Julie and Danny also got to visit, and I was able to return to a place in my heart.

Pedroncelli offers a step back in time, but is also very grounded in the present… still family owned and operated after all these years. Their wines are well-crafted, and the winery still has cats!

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