In Healdsburg, California, what was once Belvedere Winery has just quietly morphed into C. Donatiello Winery.
I spent five years of my life loving my job at Belvedere. Recently, as I cat-sat for my daughter and son-in-law in Belvedere’s neighborhood, I couldn’t restrain myself as I drove by what used to be my Belvedere.
Gone is the large sign in the front telling the world in Italian, that this was a “Beautiful View” (Belvedere). That was always a great talking point, while working in the tasting room and visitors would ask, “Where the name ‘Belvedere’ come from?”
The entire inside of what my memory recalls has been gutted (for a second time since I had left).
The gardens have also become greatly expanded.
The cellar, where I used to run back and forth form the tasting room to my marketing office – gutted and looking completely sterilized.
In the tasting room was the new owner Chris Donatiello, talking very informatively with a couple that was visiting. He was giving them a full history of how he had come to that property… When just 16 years ago, I had stood in that space doing the same thing. It was so déjà vu…
He had that same bright, excited and earnest face… telling the tale that makes people want to return the favor by buying wine that now holds immense interest to them, and they can now retell to their friends.
THE CONSTANTS: Bill and Sally Hambrecht. They’re Chris’s partners… They’ve never left the building. Another constant, the Hambrechts are mutable… And the final renaissance is worth the time it took me to explore how they’ve grown… The Hambrechts are naturalists and love gardens, which have been ever expanding since I left the winery in 1998.
It’s a beautiful thing, and it’s all still a belvedere…
Oh, sorry… C. Donatiello… The root of donati is “donated.” Together, Chris Donatiello and the Hambrechts have donated a beautiful view to the universe, which the rest of us can now enjoy.