The Jacuzzi trek to America started in 1907, when Valeriano and Francesco Jacuzzi, the second- and third-born sons of Giovanni and Teresa Jacuzzi, immigrated to Washington to work on the railroad. A warmer climate beckoned and the pair eventually made their way to southern California. Years later, they were joined by four other brothers and eventually all went to work in the aviation industry. Soon they would make American history.
In 1911 their father, Giovanni, a skilled wood worker and vineyard farmer joined them. Two weeks was enough to convince him that his sons would never go back. He then returned to Italy with Valeriano to gather up the rest of the family.
World War I intervened and the trip was delayed until the war’s end. During this time, Valeriano had met Giuseppina and fell in love, married and had their first child. Valeriano's new family, parents and remaining siblings departed from Italy in 1920.
Soon after their arrival in early 1921, Valeriano started working with his brothers at their Jacuzzi Brothers factory. A tragic crash, over Modesto, of Jacuzzi’s first enclosed monoplane took several lives, including that of Valeriano’s brother, Giocondo. At this time, Giovanni asked his sons to cease making planes. Valeriano moved his family to Northern California and purchased a 161-acre farm in Contra Costa County.
During the depression, Valeriano, with help from his older children, planted a portion of the open farm fields with grapes and in 1936 he applied for a license to make wine for home consumption. At that time he was limited to 200 gallons (approximately 84 cases). The vineyard was planted to Zinfandel, Carignane and Mourvedre and he sold grapes for $30-$35 a ton.
In 1937, Valeriano returned to work with his brothers at Jacuzzi Brothers, Inc. located in Berkeley, CA where they manufactured water well pumps and eventually, the bath and spa that bears their name.
The family story and history made this an extra special experience for us.
Carneros stretches across the cool southern extremities of both Sonoma and Napa counties while it touches the historic flatlands north of San Pablo Bay. Jacuzzi Family Vineyards sits on 190 acres at Arnold Drive in Sonoma-Carneros.
Pacific fog and coastal wind are what sets this appellation apart. In the hot afternoons, bay winds glide over the vineyards, mitigating the blistering California heat. The vines are planted in volcanic soil and adobe clay. This area is best known for producing outstanding Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It’s also been a great growing region for our Barbera and Sangiovese.
The Petaluma Gap, located in the Sonoma Coast AVA, is a region of extreme viticulture potential. This is the largest appellation in Sonoma County measuring 750 square miles.
The fog and nearness of the Pacific Ocean make it a cool region II area - on par with Santa Cruz, California and Reims, France. Here, the grapes enjoy a cooler climate in the hot summer and are protected against temperamental frost in the winter. With more than twice the annual rainfall of an inland appellation, the grapes demand longer hang-time to ripen, and although the yields are smaller than a more controllable inland appellation, the concentration and structure of the grapes are exceptional. The vineyards are planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Pinot Grigio and Sangiovese along with premium Italian olives.
Very few acres of Montepulciano and Nero D' Avola exist in California. We were lucky to find a meticulous farmer, Jeff Brown, who has an eye for unusual varieties in Tracy Hills. The soil in his vineyards is high in gravel content which is designated as a “mineral resource zone” by the US Geological Service. Deficit irrigation is utilized to grow grapes in this vineyard.
The Tracy Hills AVA is special for a few reasons. First the area warms up pretty well during the day because it is part of the Central Valley but a steady wind coming through the Altamont Pass and over the hills keeps the heat reasonable. The vines are planted on fairly rich, well-drained alluvial soils deposited by the creeks that come out of the foothills on the west side of the valley. This region gets very little rainfall – on a par with the Mojave Desert- so managing the water going to the vine and controlling vigor is an easy thing to do.
Our Primitivo grapes come from a beautiful hillside vineyard on the north side of Clear Lake in Lake County. On the Morine Ranch Vineyard that sits high atop a mountain with a southern exposure.The vineyard is planted on well-drained volcanic pumice soil and at 2,100 feet elevation – it is one of the highest vineyards in Lake County. The combination of rolling hills and nurturing heat ripen this vineyard and retain the great acidity and flavor this variety is known for.
Our Dolcetto comes from the Split Rock Ranch in Mendocino County and our Barbera grapes come from the Yokayo Vineyard planted in the NW corn of Ukiah. Originally planted for Mondavi’s La Famiglia’s program the soils are rocky and well drained. Both of these vineyard sits upon a bench and get good, cooling breezes in the afternoon and experience long warm days.
The grapes for our Moscato come from a single vineyard in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. This vineyard was planted in 2005 by Jim Murphy in deep, fertile loam soil. Its vertical trellis is trained to a cordon, and grapes are handpicked at the peak of ripeness. These vineyards sit on the eastern bank of the Russian River and is directly east of Geyserville and climate is warm days and cool nights.