gmhTODAY 19 gmhToday April May 2018 - Page 109

Gene, Laura, Jan and George Guglielmo Among the three Guglielmo brothers—George, Gene and Gary, who own the winery—how did you decide who would do what? Was wine a big part of your family meals? Wine was always a part of our lunch and dinner. In fact, we don’t remember a time when wine wasn’t on the table. It was customary to have wine with meals. As teenagers we were offered a little watered-down wine. It was such a common, everyday occurrence and so we never snuck any. We had a natural division of labor. George graduated with a viticulture degree so he became our winemaker. Gene was more interested in business and marketing which he majored in at Santa Clara University – so he took over sales and operations. With an accounting degree, Gary took over the bookkeeping. How old were you when you started to help out in the winery – what were your jobs? How would you describe your wines? Our legacy is making dry, full-bodied wines – wines that pair well with food. We produce several uncommon varietals such as Grignolino, Barbera, Dolcetto and Carignan – along with Cabernet, Zinfandel, Syrah, Merlot and Pinot Noir. Our white wines include Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc and several sparkling options. We helped out as soon as we were able – doing odd jobs like putting caps and foils on bottles and pulling hoses. Did you ever have other aspirations for a different career or did you feel destined to take over the winery one day? George: I always thought I would work at the winery so that is why I majored in viticulture with an option of enology at Fresno State. Gene: Originally, I had wanted to do my own thing, apart from the winery. But one year, when I traveled to Italy to meet my great aunts in the same village where my grandfather was born, I thought it would be sad to see the winery that they worked so hard to establish, go away. So I became determined to stay and help keep our family business successful. What are some of the biggest changes that you’ve seen in the wine industry? The old family home is now the winery’s front office. What are your favorite memories here? The house, or “International Headquarters” as we jokingly call it- - was full of music – whether it was recording music or people playing accordions or just my grandmother singing. Our customers were also our friends. They’d come to the house for lunch and before long start singing the old Italian mountain songs. During Prohibition, there was an old trap door in the floor of my grandparent’s bedroom that led to the secret cellar. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN The changes have been mind-boggling. When the winery first started, most wine was drunk by the ethnic Mediterranean cultures – the Italians, French and Spanish people. We made 20-gallon, home deliveries – 90% of our wine was sold direct to the consumer, restaurants and liquor stores. Whole sale prices were just $1.00 per gallon. In the 1970s, there were less than 200 wineries in the state (now there are over 5,000). Also at this time, there were no varietals – all our wines were blended into Burgundy. But, then a trend to bottle individual varietals became popular so in the 1970s, George started that program here. In 1989, Gene was instrumental in getting an AVA for the Santa Clara Valley established. What kind of vibe does your winery have? We have a sense of tradition based on history and family. People feel comfortable and taken care of here. Continued on page 113 APRIL/MAY 2018 109