[5] The winery was sold in 1981 to Moët-Hennessy, which in turn became part of LVMH Moët Hennessy. Failing at that, they first grew produce in Pescadero, and then found their real gold mine: grapes. Constellation Brands, a publicly traded company which, according to its website, owns a portfolio of over 100 wines, beers and spirits, is the current owner of Simi. Isabelle carried the winery business through Prohibition by selling lots of “sacramental” and “medicinal” wine to the Catholic Church and a few others, as did Sebastiani Winery in Sonoma. Simi Winery: Dripping with History - See 134 traveler reviews, 68 candid photos, and great deals for Healdsburg, CA, at Tripadvisor. This is not a boutique winery, but on the flip side, it’s a good example of a place that’s gotten pretty big but managed to uphold quality. From vine to bottle, we craft wines with individuality, meant to be true expressions of their Sonoma County vineyards. Most wineries were forced to dump their wine at the start of Prohibition, many simply pouring it into local creeks. Isabelle also sold off property to keep the winery going, continuing to employ a few workers, and avoided the closures suffered by other Alexander Valley wineries. She eventually married Healdsburg banker Fred R. Haigh, with whom she had one daughter, Vivien. To get off the history and into modern times, today Simi is owned by the . Giuseppe and brother Pietro produce their first wines under the Simi name. 1849. A onetime chemistry and medical child development major at the University of Missouri, Lueker switched to the study of enology at UC Davis. Isabelle Simi. [1] After marrying a local banker, Isabelle continued to make wine during Prohibition from 1920 until 1933, which she stored in the winery's stone cellars. Gary Danko spotted him and brought Vazzoler to San Fran- cisco, where he served eight years as executive sous-chef to Gary Danko at his eponymous restaurant. The Simis constructed their first stone cellar from basalt quarried from the site’s hillside in 1890, employing Chinese immigrants to build the three-foot-thick walls, trading land to some of the laborers. One of the few California wineries to survive Prohibition, Simi was forced to sell most of its vineyards to survive, but was also one of the few companies to have wine available when sales were again legal. History   SIMI WINERY - CELEBRATING OUR 140 YEAR ANNIVERSARY . Leading the pack again, Isabelle helped found the Sonoma County Grape Growers association in 1946. Isabelle Simi’s father, Giuseppe Simi, and his brother, Pietro, had arrived in San Francisco from Montepulciano in Tuscany, Italy, in 1859, hoping to find gold. The cellar’s hillside setting allowed the gravity flow … Isabelle held onto the winery through the. She says that, on her first visit to a vineyard with her enology class, she knew that she loved the people and being in the vineyard, nature and the science of it all. Meanwhile, grape growing flourished in the Alexander Valley. 1890. [8], Coordinates: 38°38′39″N 122°52′21″W / 38.64413°N 122.87239°W / 38.64413; -122.87239, "Zelma of Simi - Zelma Long of Simi Winery", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Simi_Winery&oldid=983918652, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 17 October 2020, at 01:31. They moved operations to Healdsburg, California in 1881, paying $2,250 in gold coins to buy a winery … The winery was founded in San Francisco, California in 1876 by two Italian brothers, Giuseppe and Pietro Simi, who had immigrated to the United States during the California Gold Rush. Isabelle Simi. [3], The winery was run by Giuseppe Simi's daughter, Isabelle Simi, beginning 1904. LVMH sold the winery for approximately US$50 million in 1999 to Canandaigua Brands, a division of Constellation Brands. Establishing what has become a long history of strong female leadership at Simi, Isabelle began to expand the cellars right away and insisted on reinforcing the stone structure with steel bars, still visible today, in case of an earthquake. Simi - Sharing the Diversity of Sonoma County Since 1876. Giuseppe and Pietro both died from influenza in 1904, just four weeks apart, leaving the winery to Guiseppe’s daughter, Isabelle, who had just been crowned Queen of the Healdsburg Flower Festival (also referred to as the Healdsburg Water Carnival). Interrupting the tradition of strong female head winemakers at Simi, but certainly not the quality of its wines, Paul Hobbs succeeded Zelma Long as winemaker in 1999. While doing so, she also completed her coursework and graduated from what was then the Santa Rosa Business College. Simi Winery stakes a claim as the oldest continuously operating winery in California because it didn’t close during the Prohibition era, which spanned from 1920 to 1933. We will never share your email address with anyone else. Legend has it that the townspeople of Healdsburg actually showed up with buckets to scoop discarded wine out of the water, likely slightly diluted. By the 1920s, wines made by the Simi family were highly sought after in San Francisco. Photo 2: Susan Lueker. Courtesy of Simi Winery. Please enter a valid address. The winery was founded in San Francisco, California in 1876 by two Italian brothers, Giuseppe and Pietro Simi, who had immigrated to the United States during the California Gold Rush. When you visit, be sure to check out Alfred Hitchcock’s entry in the guest book. Visitors to the Simi Winery Visitor Center can enjoy peaceful meditation under the redwoods that Isabelle planted decades ago, wine sipping, wood-fired pizza and other culinary offerings, tours and a great selection of books and kitchen and wine novelties. 1876. The Wines of Simi. Our specialized and diverse Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley vineyards allow us to craft a remarkable range of wines. History   SIMI WINERY - CELEBRATING OUR 140 YEAR ANNIVERSARY . mega wine corporation, Constellation, but it’s still run pretty autonomously. In 1906 the great earthquake and fire hit San Francisco hard, felling buildings as far north as Sonoma County, but Simi’s then 2-year-old reinforcements and solid structure helped the winery stand virtually unaffected. But her wines are definitely on the “right side of the tracks” in terms of quality. Much to his consterna- tion, she sent it back. Giuseppe Simi leaves the Tuscan hills to find his fortune in the gold fields of California. Simi Winery embraced innovation from the beginning with the construction in 1890 of the stone cellar – still being used at the winery today. Isabelle was also a rose collector, and planted a different rose for each president of the United States, save for Herbert Hoover, whom she blamed for Prohibition. The brothers Simi first produced wine under their own name in 1876, selling it by lots in San Francisco. Isabelle held onto the winery through the. First making wine in their North Beach San Francisco basement, the brothers bought their wine grapes from the Alexander Valley. Vazzoler grew up cooking with his mother and aunt using what was available in the family’s vegetable garden. Nick Goldschmidt followed Hobbs in 2001. In 1979, Graf was followed by Zelma Long, the second female graduate from the UC Davis viticulture and enology program, who left her position as chief enologist at Mondavi to become head winemaker and vice president at Simi. The cellar’s hillside setting allowed the gravity flow of juice to fermenting tanks—a practice far ahead of its time. The youngest winery owner in history, she proved more than capable of successfully running the business. Simi Winery embraced innovation from the beginning with the construction in 1890 of the stone cellar – still being used at the winery today. Susan Lueker joined Simi in 2000 and is now the director of winemaking. Simi Winery is a winery in California in the United States. The door is always open at SIMI, where we welcome you to our Healdsburg home. In 1970, at the age of 84, Isabelle Simi Haigh retired and sold the winery to Alexander Valley grape grower Russell Green, a retired president of Signal Oil. Lueker’s first winemaking job was at the old and then-small and family-owned Hacienda Winery in Sonoma Valley, where she learned the winemaking process through hands-on experience, top to bottom. As early as 1908, Isabelle, then 22, was traveling the country visiting wine distributors and promoting Simi wines, way out ahead of the pack. Most wineries were forced to dump their wine at the start of Prohibition, many simply pouring it into local creeks. The brothers had traveled from Tuscany, Italy, to California for the Gold Rush and by 1876 started making wine. [7] It is now owned by Icon Estates, Constellation's luxury wine subsidiary.
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