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Old And Sold Antiques Digest Article

Los Angeles - Notable Wineries By District And Region

[Los Angeles - Part 1]  [Los Angeles - Part 2]  [Los Angeles - Part 3] 
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(Note: Information Originally Published In 1955 - Presented For Historical Perspective!)


Santa Fe Vintage Company, Los Angeles

The largest and by far the most important winery in the Los Angeles district and located in downtown Los Angeles. It is owned and operated by the Guerrieri family, well-known winegrowers and wine makers for many years. Lewis Guerrieri is the general manager of the company as well as president of the Guerrieri-owned Santa Fe Winery at Kerman in Fresno County.

The Guerrieris were in the wine and grape business in Perugia, Italy, for generations before Giuseppe Guerrieri came to the United States in 1903. Giuseppe Guerrieri first worked for Italian Swiss Colony in San Francisco and in 1905 moved to Guasti in Southern California, where he became wine maker and superintendent for the Italian Vineyard Company. In 1915 he went into business for himself in Los Angeles, operating the Ramona Wine and Liquor Company. A few years later he purchased the Old Mission Winery located in Los Angeles right by the Los Angeles River and in I9I9 he bought the old Santa Fe Winery at Santa Fe Springs, California.

In 1935 Giuseppe Guerrieri founded the Santa Fe Vintage Company in its present location. Late that same year his son, Lewis Guerrieri, who had already had personal winery experience and around 1927 had operated the California Mission Vintage Company, became associated with his father. Together they operated the Los Angeles winery and gradually developed the enterprise, acquiring vineyards in the Cucamonga district in San Bernardino County and in Riverside County. In June 1953 the family purchased the large Morello Winery at Kerman, west of Fresno, since renamed the Santa Fe Winery, to take care of the increasing demand for their wines.

Since Guiseppe Guerrieri passed away the entire family business, including the vineyards and wineries, has been owned and operated by Lewis Guerrieri, assisted by his two sisters. Henry Hutter is the wine maker at the Los Angeles winery and Ted Yamada resident manager and wine maker at the Kerman plant.

While the Santa Fe Vintage Company does some business outside of California, it is mainly interested in the Southern California market. Dessert wines of sound standard quality are the main products and these, as well as some table wines, are featured under the popularly priced Santa Fe Three Crown brand, enjoying a wide distribution in Southern California and adjoining districts. A few higher-priced dessert and table wines are marketed under the Santa Fe "Supreme" brand.

The following wines are produced under the Santa Fe Three Crown label:

Aperitif and Dessert wines: Pale Dry Sherry, Dry Sherry, Cocktail Sherry, Sherry, and Cream Sherry; Port, Ruby Port, and Tawny Port; Muscatel, Tokay, and White Port;

Table wines: Burgundy, Zinfandel, and Claret; Sauterne.

Wines available in limited quantity under the Santa Fe "Supreme" label include:

Aperitif and Dessert wines: Pale Dry Sherry and Sherry; Port and Tawny Port; Muscatel and Tokay.

Table wines: Burgundy and Sauterne.

A number of Santa Fe Berry Wines are available as follows: Blackberry, Boysenberry, Loganberry, Red Currant, and Raspberry. A Concord Grape wine is also marketed.

San Gabriel Vineyard Company, San Gabriel

This famous old winery is located near the historic San Gabriel Mission, some ten miles northeast of the heart of downtown Los Angeles.

Giovanni Demateis, the founder, was descended from a family long engaged in winegrowing in their native Asti in Piedmont, Italy. He chose Southern California as an ideal location to produce wines, comparable to those of his homeland. He planted his first vineyards in the Cucamonga area in 1888, founding thereby the family wine enterprise. He spared no trouble in obtaining the best, and oak casks for wine aging were purchased which had come around Cape Horn from the Black Forest in Germany. These casks are still in use and stand also as a tribute to the winery's founder.

After Giovanni Demateis passed on in 1929, the family concern was run for many years by his widow, Margherita, and their son Charles John Demateis. After Mrs. Demateis died in 1952, operation of the enterprise devolved on Charles John and his brother Robert A. Demateis, who continue the tradition of fine wine production set by their parents.

In following a change of policy it was decided to produce only aperitif and dessert wines, specializing, as before, in aged sherry and port wines, for which the winery had become especially well known.

Old San Gabriel is the featured brand, as of old, and under this label the following wines are available:

Aperitif and Dessert wines: Pale Dry Sherry and Sherry (medium) ; Port; Muscatel, Tokay, and White Port.