Just east of the famed Silverado Trail and north of the town of Napa, lies an old Zinfandel vineyard that is one of our favorite historic family stories in Napa Valley. Dorothy Rossi spent her life tending to the old-vine vineyard along with her son, Tony Rossi, who continues to care for the vines planted by Dorothy’s father, Theodosio Grande, in 1920–the same year that Dorothy was born! Having arrived in Napa from Venice, Italy, Theodosio soon planted Zinfandel, pears, prunes, and walnuts. He also built a farmhouse, chicken coop, and barn–all of which still exist–as though having been preserved in some sort of agrarian time capsule.
Driving into the Rossi property today is like going back in time to the early days of Napa Valley. Not much has changed. Dorothy and Tony tend daily to the vines, chickens, and orchard. Every autumn, the pickers hand-harvest perfect bunches of Zinfandel into bins. Starting in 2001, all of those Zinfandel bunches began to be delivered to the Biale winery, where we cherish the fruits of the labors of Theodosio Grande and his offspring–a genuine and sweet family tradition that daily reminds us of Napa Valley’s agricultural origins.