Renzoni Family History
The history of winemaking in the Renzoni family dates to 1886, when my great grandfather Federico began working in the vineyards near Fano, a small Italian village on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. While tending the vineyards, Federico and his father began making wine for family and friends – these were the humble beginnings of the Renzoni family wine history.
Federico’s calling changed and he decided to become a commercial fisherman on the Adriatic Sea. He soon became aware of a need for commercial fishermen in America and emigrated here in 1912. He worked in New London, Connecticut’s fishing industry for two years before moving to Buffalo, New York. Federico entered into the wine & cordial business with his brother-in-law, Romeo Battistoni. Unfortunately, that venture was short lived, as they were forced out of business by the advent of Prohibition in 1918.
Building the Family Business in Buffalo
With Prohibition closing their wine & cordial business, Federico and Romeo were forced into another line of work. They turned to the home construction business, where they were very successful for eleven years. In 1929, their fortune and success were thwarted again, this time by the Great Depression.
When Prohibition ended in 1933, Federico and Romeo returned to a variant of their first business venture together: a wine distributing business. My grandfather, Domenic, joined them in 1934 and the trio began importing wines from Italy and France. By this time, having recovered from Prohibition, the American wine industry was resurgent. It was at this time that they began doing business with a number of Italian immigrants who settled in California. These immigrants would make their mark on the world and became some of the more famous winemakers in California, including August Sebastiani, Lorenzo Cella (Roma Wines) and Cesare Mondavi (Charles Krug).
Federico died in 1938 and passed his share of the business to his son Domenic, my grandfather. Based in Buffalo, New York, the Renzoni family wine business continued to thrive. In 1954, Domenic and Romeo formed an alliance with Marvin Sands, then President of the Canandaigua Wine Company, to become the first distributor in the country for Richards Wild Irish Rose. The brand experienced phenomenal success thanks in part to my grandfather’s marketing expertise. Canandaigua Wine Company, now known as Constellation Brands, went on to great success and today sells over 110 million cases of wine and spirits annually.
The Italian & French Wine Company
Named for my great-grandfather Federico, my father, Frederick, assumed control of our family business in 1972. The business was then known as the Italian and French Wine Company. The Italian and French Wine Company prospered as a wholesale wine and liquor distributorship and eventually covered all of Upstate New York. As young adults, my brother and I spent many hours working at and learning our family business.
I formally entered the business in 1989, spending five years in various roles within our company, the last of which was in the sales department. In 1994, our family decided to exit the rapidly consolidating wholesale business and the company was sold. In 1996, I relocated to California and worked in the wine and liquor industry in Los Angeles for several years.
Temecula: West Coast Reunion
In 1999, my parents relocated to San Diego and after many years apart, our family was once again reunited in Temecula, when my parents and I both moved here in 2004. Given the beauty of the Temecula Valley and its natural perfection for grape growing, the muse of winemaking again beckoned. We purchased this beautiful property in 2006 on De Portola Road in Temecula, and supplemented the existing vineyards with additional plantings in 2007. The Robert Renzoni Winery opened its doors in the Spring of 2008.
The Renzoni Family journey from Fano to Temecula Wine Country has been made possible only by the hard work and dedication of our family members that have gone before us. Robert Renzoni Vineyards & Winery is a tribute to Federico, Romeo, and Domenic. We are proud to put the Renzoni name on these fine wines as a testament to their success and all that they worked to accomplish to enable each of us to be here today.