In Memory of Amigo Bob Cantisano

Vineyard Guru Amigo Bob
Vineyard Guru Amigo Bob

The Biale winery has the privilege of working with heritage vineyards, but we have also had the privilege of working with legendary people who contribute to making the vineyards sustainable and healthy. Amigo Bob Cantisano was one of the legends that Bob Biale appreciated working with since 2008. Bob connected with him through Jon-Mark Chappellet, from Chappellet Vineyards, but had heard of him and his knowledge for quite a while before that.

Bob Biale was drawn to Amigo Bob for organic vineyard consulting for various reasons. Bob shares, “He had been doing this long enough in a wide variety of fruits and areas that there was very little he had not seen or could not deal with when confronted with a problem. I liked that he always wanted to visit the vineyards, not just talk about them.

Amigo Bob teaching the Robert Biale Vineyards Team about cover crop.

Plus, he appreciated tasting the wines from these same vineyards he consulted with us on, giving us his unique view on the wine. He was a good teacher of his field and could relay his information in an easy-to-understand manner. We’ll miss him dearly.”

Amigo Bob’s legacy reaches far beyond the vineyards and has been shaping farming practices since the 1960s. He was a ninth generation Californian who helped establish the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) Organization. He was one of the key influencers of organic and sustainable farming. With his firm Organic Ag Advisors, he was a pioneer in organic agriculture for the nation. He was a pivotal player in working with conventional farmers and assisting them with implementing organic practices, along with enhancing the organic practices of already established organic fields. Beyond advising organic farming, he was crucial to saving heritage varietals of olives, apples, nut trees, and so much more.

The Biale team fondly remembers him walking us out to the vineyard for an up-close view of the intricacies of cover crops down to the grubs and root systems that are beneath the surface. Amigo Bob was a person that you just soaked up a wealth of information from.  He was our organic farming guru and his presence can be felt when looking at our vineyard in full bloom with the mustard, fava beans, and grasses. He was truly a one-of-a-kind person and we will continue his legacy with our growing practices here at the winery.  The agricultural community lost a phenomenal asset in 2020 with Amigo Bob moving on to his next life, but we look forward to the next generation stepping up to fill Amigo Bob’s shoes, or you may say, sandals.

Information sourced from https://www.nytimes.com/1996/03/10/magazine/amigo-cantisano-s-organic-dream.html and you will find a more in depth writing of Amigo Bob Cantisano here.