This year’s L.A. County Fair Wines of the World Lifetime Achievement award will be presented to the Riboli family, owners and operators of San Antonio Winery in Los Angeles, California for 85 years. The award will be presented during the 2003 Wines of the World dinner, May 16, at The Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch at Cal Poly Pomona.
Generations of the Riboli family have been a key part of the wine industry since 1917. Stefano Riboli’s uncle, Santo Cambianica, survived prohibition by making altar wine for religious services. Stefano Riboli emigrated from Italy in 1937 and took his part in the family business, initially scrubbing barrels and washing bottles by hand. At that time, the winery was making about 4,000 gallons (1,600 cases) per year, and was delivering wine to people’s doorsteps for the bargain price of $1.75 for five gallons.
After World War II, production in the winery steadily grew up to 17,000 gallons per year. In 1946, Stefano married Maddalena Satragni and she worked alongside Stefano and his uncle Santo, all three working together to grow the business. They hired their first employee, Raphael Barrios, in 1950. He worked with them for 48 years, until he retired in 1998.
Today the Riboli family makes more than 500,000 cases of wine a year, 60,000 of which are altar wines. Eight different brands make up their portfolio, including San Simeon and Maddalena. They own an impressive selection of vineyards in some of California’s top growing regions, from Rutherford in the Napa Valley and Sonoma’s Alexander Valley, to Arroyo Seco in Monterey County, Paso Robles, Edna Valley and Santa Maria.
Riboli’s sons, daughter and grandchildren all work together with him at San Antonio Winery. Winemaker Anthony Riboli, Stefano’s nephew, has taken over winemaking duties, but Stefano still<