In 1956 my grandparents–Charles and Helen Bacigalupi–purchased 121 acres on Westside Road, a few miles south of town. In a simple beginning, Grandpa began to care for the 16 acres of existing vineyards. Envisioning the demand for premium wine grapes, Paul Heck encouraged Charles to plant chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
In 1964, Grandpa began his plantings with six acres of each varietal. Eventually he obtained pinot noir bud wood from Karl Wente, the first well documented plantings of Pinot Noir in the Russian River Valley. He remembers Wente telling him the stock had come from France via the family’s old vineyard in Livermore.
Our family name (Bacigalupi) gained recognition during the 1976 Paris tasting when the 1973 Napa Valley Chardonnay from Château Montelena made with 40% of our fruit triumphed over many acclaimed French wines. This event was to be the turning point in America’s global wine image.
Our vineyards now consists of 125 acres of premium grapes, which have been planted and managed for the past 30 years by my father John Bacigalupi and our family. The John Tyler wine label is the realization of a dream for our family who has roots in the wine industry stretching over four generations. Looking towards the future, we hope to continue our legacy of premium grape growing and wine making for many years to come.