When Ed was growing up, wine meant both livelihood and quality of life to his family. Ed’s grandfather, an immigrant from Tuscany, had naturally gravitated to the wineries flourishing in California at the turn of the century. Ed’s father acquired his own vineyards near Healdsburg, growing zinfandel grapes for sale and home winemaking.
In the Tuscan tradition, good red wine was a part of every family dinner. The vineyards meant hard work for young Ed – pruning, thinning, harvesting, and crushing. Ed majored in chemistry at the University of California at Davis, headed for a career in science. But his family background made him the top candidate for a job in a winery laboratory upon graduation.
Quickly realizing that the winemaker’s job was what he wanted, he returned to California State University at Fresno for a master’s degree in enology. After a year working at a Sonoma County winery, he learned about an opening as winemaker Myron Nightingale’s assistant at Beringer in Napa Valley. “Myron was a great teacher. He was the most intuitive winemaker I’ve ever known. He understood that winemaking requires subjective input – a feeling – just like painting or sculpture or any work to which you dedicate yourself.” Ed spent 32 years as the Winemaster, garnering a reputation as a world-class winemaker, even winning Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year award twice, to this day, he is the only winemaker to win for a white and red wine.
In 2006, Ed and his wife, Jane, purchased the old Lake Sonoma Winery facility to fulfill his dream and promise to his father to start a family winery. “The Family Vineyards are my father’s legacy to me and my children. I love this land and making wine from it. Bottling it under the family name affirms all the work my father did for me. It is something I had to do to show my gratitude to my father, Gino.”