Bargetto Family Shares 80th Anniversary Celebration with Community

June Smith
Santa Cruz County CVC


The story of how fourth generation director of winemaking John Bargetto came to write the history of Bargetto Winery began with another story. Before even contemplating the book “Vintage Bargetto: Celebrating a Century of California Winemaking,” he wrote a short story set in the ‘20s about Prohibition, which turned into a long story. “You know, we Italians talk a lot,” he says. But that story, which he still hopes to publish, is what provided the motivation for a book chronicling the winery history before it was lost.

The project began in the summer of 2012, along with local historian and co-writer Geoffrey Dunn, who agreed to take part with Tom Bargetto’s editorial support. Graphic artist and label designer Ed Penniman was responsible for designing the layout of text, historical photographs and images.

Although John had established family and winery archives years earlier, several surprises turned up upon further research. It was discovered that the family operated a retail store at 232 Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz selling produce they grew in Soquel, that Irving Berlin’s nephew almost invested in the winery, and in 1967, Ansel Adams visited the winery while teaching a class at UCSC. One of John’s favorite photos of his dad was taken by Adams and appears in the book.


Prohibition 1919 – 1933

A section in the book relates the many ways the family struggled yet survived during Prohibition. The law permitted the production of 200 gallons of wine per year, per household. A colorful story in the book relates how the Bargettos figured out a way to sell wine to the public by including it with dinners held at the family home on Main Street in Soquel. The cost of wine was included with the dinner and additional bottles were quietly sold upon request.

December 5 of 2013 marks the 80th anniversary of the winery as well as the day in 1933 that Prohibition ended with the passage of the 21st Amendment. Bargetto chronicles the family’s 14 long years of hardship during those years and how they prepared for the upcoming era. In anticipation, just as they had done years ago, wine that had been crushed in the fall was ready to go, and the family stayed up all night bottling and labeling so as to have it ready for sale on December 5.

Repeal Day celebration

To celebrate this illustrious date in all of winemaking history, the winery has plans for a big “Repeal Day” event, complete with food, music and complimentary wine tasting. This day also marks the release of two new Bargetto wines, 2012 Pinot Noir – Mount Eden Clone, and 2012 Pinot Noir – Pommard Clone. Geoff Dunn and historian emeritus Sandy Lydon, who wrote the book’s afterword, will join John Bargetto to sign books.


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