Sonoma County Library

Paola Senso-Isolani
Paola Sensi-Isolani
Photo: Nicolo Sertorio

From Peasants to Entrepreneurs:
The Italian American Experience in the North Coast Wine Industry

Join the Wine Library Associates of Sonoma County and Pedroncelli Winery for an evening with Professor Paola Sensi-Isolani as she tells us about how the Italians came to the Sonoma Wine Country and transformed it, bringing the concepts of the good life -- wine with lovingly prepared, slowly made meals; hand-tended vines; and the honest pleasure in experiencing the wonderful world of the senses.

Saturday, September 22, 2012
5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Pedroncelli Winery, 1220 Canyon Road, Geyserville
Map and directions

Wines and appetizers will be served.

Tickets: $50 for the general public and $40 for members of either the Wine Library Associates or the Pedroncelli Wine Club, Club Ped. You can join either organization when you order tickets and receive the discounted price.

Reservations: 800-836-3894 (Please ask for Kathy Cross)

In celebration of the 85th Anniversary of Pedroncelli Winery

Pedroncelli Family 
        picking grapes, 1935
Pedroncelli family picking grapes, 1935

Paola Sensi-Isolani is professor of anthropology at Saint Mary's College of California.

Sensi-Isolani has a particular interest in Italians, and she has recently researched Italian immigrants in Sonoma County, particularly in the wine industry. In 2006, she curated an exhibit, "Planting Roots, Reaping the Harvest: The Contribution of Italian Immigrants and their Descendants to the Napa and Sonoma Wine Industry," which opened at the Museo Italo-Americano in San Francisco. It has since been shown in Reno and is headed to Italy.

The first Italian farmer in Sonoma County showed up in 1867, and others followed, planting grape vines for their own table wine. "Before Prohibition, the Italian farmers weren't a dominant group, but they had land," she says. After Prohibition, they dominated commercial winemaking, with families like Pedroncelli, Seghesio, Sattui, Sbragia and Sebastiani running successful wineries.

As much as she enjoys her research, she doesn't want to become a winemaker herself. "It's hard work making wine," she says. "I can buy good wine."

How barrels are made
How barrels are made, Asti, California, post card, Turrill & Miller, ~1900-1920

Sonoma County Wine Library Associates

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