Crushing grapes by foot at the St. Gennaro
festival 2004 (helped by a member of the
Roman Holiday ensemble)
There is much romance attached to the early days of winemaking in California and the important role played by Italians in its development. Although Italians (predominantly Northern Italians) were among the pioneers of Californiaís vital wine industry, few Italians still make wine for home consumption in the traditional manner. Many remember the wine festivals abundant at harvest time, but in southern California none is remembered more frequently than those held at Guasti (On Secondo Guasti, See: INTRODUCTIONS, Historical Resources, Further Reading: DíAmico, Ricci Lothrop). Wine festivals were but one, the most conspicuous, of the seasonal agricultural sagre (harvest festivals) for Italians. Some clubs stage a wine harvest or vendemmia event in the fall, and the San Gennaro festival has recently included grape stomping (in a small vat) among its activities.

Among the older Italian-born immigrants home winemakers can still be found among Marabellaís clientele. Tony Marabella, a Cucamonga and San Pedro-based vintner, is also one of the few to still purvey materials necessary for home winemaking, even though today he mostly sells ready-pressed juice or must (=mosto), that is grapes already crushed and delivered for further processing at home (See Home Winemaking). (We do not include wine importers in this section.)

Further reading:

Edward F. Tuttle, "La presenza italiana nello svilippo della vitivinicoltura in California e nel Nord America," La Vigna

Luisa Del Giudice, "'Wine Makes Good Blood:' Wine Culture Among Toronto Italians," in Ethnologies, 2001, Vol. 23, number 1, 1-27 (Cultural history of wine and winemaking among immigrants).