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Riboli Family Vineyard - Napa Valley


The Riboli Family has been producing wine for 83 years and counting.

It is fairly rare that four generations can be found actively working in the same business within the wine industry, but the modern San Antonio Winery in Southern California can boast just that. Founded in 1917 by Santo Cambianica, an immigrant from the Lombardy Region in Italy, on a spot believed to be in close proximity to the first commercially planted vineyard in the Golden State, the winery is about five minutes from the present site of the gigantic Los Angeles Convention Center. By 1920, nearly 100 wineries were actively engaged in business in the Los Angeles area alone. Today, San Antonio Winery remains as the only producing winery in Los Angeles.

At its inception, the winery produced several generic wines and was able to survive the era of Prohibition by supplying altar wines for the Catholic Church. When prohibition was finally removed, the San Antonio Winery was in a perfect position to compete in the changing wine industry of the 1930’s. Shortly thereafter, Santo Cambianica’s nephew, Stefano Riboli (pronounced ree-bow-lee) joined the winery. He remains at San Antonio today along with a number of other family members who work in the multi faceted business.

Today’s modern San Antonio Winery also boasts a first class restaurant named Maddalena, lovingly named after Santo’s wife who still runs the operation on a daily basis. Both Maddalena and Santo are approaching 80 and still put in full days at the winery. Stefano Riboli’s son Santo serves as the President of the business; another son, Steve Riboli Jr. is the winery’s Vice President. Grandson, Anthony Riboli, was awarded a Masters Degree in Oenology from the University of California Davis in 1998, and represents the Riboli Family’s fourth generation of winemakers. That is also where our narrative actually begins.

Anthony Riboli worked for Groth Winery and Vineyards while he pursued his degree at UC Davis. He also took note of a particular vineyard in Napa that his grandparents had purchased in 1986. The vineyard was ideally located in the valley’s Rutherford Bench Area, just west of the Silverado Trail and north of the Skellenger Lane intersection. The wines were all pre-phylloxera AXR stock from cuttings gleaned from the famous Eisele Vineyard of Joseph Phelps fame. For the past decade, the grapes had been sold to the likes of Robert Mondavi, ZD and others.

With his recent UC Davis background to draw upon, Anthony Riboli was convinced it was possible to produce a great quality wine from the vineyard, but first there was the not so simple matter of convincing his family.

“We are an extremely tight family unit,” he remarked. “Each of us lives within ten minutes of each other and we all live within ten minutes of the winery. I knew it wasn’t going to be that simple.”

Anthony’s other challenge lay in the fact that the San Antonio collection of wines were mostly popular priced, volume oriented wines, and not exactly geared to the crowd that Anthony’s new project would undoubtedly appeal to.

“One of the important aspects that our Family adheres to is that we are cognizant of changes within the wine industry,” Riboli added. “I was able to convince everyone that there was potential in a single vineyard ultra premium Cabernet Sauvignon. After all, the Family has been producing some outstanding white varietals from the Monterey area for some time now.”

With the Family’s concurrence, Anthony was given the opportunity to produce his first wine. If, after bottling, the Family agreed as to the wine’s quality, the Riboli Family name would be placed on the label.

Enter a healthy dose of kindness from Mother Nature. Since the initial vintage of the wine just happened to be part of the heralded 1997 crush, Anthony Riboli literally struck gold with his first product. He enlisted the aid of consulting Winemaker Karen Culler who was formerly with Vichon Winery and together patiently produced the wine. After the Family’s approval was secured and sufficient bottle aging had occurred; the wine was finally released in January of 2000.



Dear Platinum Series Wine Club Members,

Having been a part of the California wine business since 1917, our family is proud to offer the first vintage from our estate vineyard in Napa Valley. Our small vineyard is located on the Silverado Trail in the heart of the renowned Rutherford appellation. Planted exclusively to Cabernet Sauvignon, cuttings were taken from the Eisele Vineyard, made famous by Joseph Phelps then elevated to cult status by Araujo.

The 1997 vintage in Napa Valley was excellent for Cabernet Sauvignon. It may be remembered as the best vintage of the decade and maybe for the century! A long, warm growing season provided perfect maturation. We hand harvested at 24.8 degrees Brix, at the peak of flavor and color concentration.

The 1997 Riboli Family Vineyard Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon is a rich and full-bodied wine. Readily accessible today, it should age at least 5 to 10 years. Our family invites you to enjoy this fantastic bottle of wine. It is a celebration of four generations of winemaking, and the first label to bear our family name in over 83 years of California history.

Best Regards, Anthony Riboli - Fourth Generation Winemaker

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