Planted originally in the 1880s, then added to in the 1920s by Felice Pagani, an immigrant from Fenegro, Italy near the Swiss border, who came to America in 1883. In 1885, he soon began taking care of two neighboring vineyards in Sonoma Valley that were planted mainly to Zinfandel around the same time: Monte Rosso® and the Judge Cook Vineyard. Talk about hardscrabble farming. Those were the arduous days of farming by hand, horse and plow, and wielding the heavy hoe that Italians call the “zappa”.
Felice was soon able to purchase 25 acres of Judge Cook’s vineyard and then, 16 years later, another 30-acre vineyard adjoining his property. Felice’s granddaughter, Norma Pagani Amantite, and her son, Dino Amantite, are the devoted caretakers of this iconic and hallowed ground in Sonoma. It is located at Dunbar Road and Highway 12 with the iconic white barn amongst the vines. Most of the original vines still produce beautiful fruit. Much of it is field-blended: Zinfandel, Alicante, Lenoir, Petite Sirah, Grand Noir and numerous others–like a big old vine salad of many heritage varieties, if you will.
Enjoy Antonio Galloni’s deep dive into the Pagani Ranch in his California Vineyard Series: Pagani Ranch.