Antonio Ruggero Ambrogio Perelli-Minetti


Antonio Ruggero Ambrogio Perelli-Minetti

Barletta, Provincia di Barletta - Andria - Trani, Puglia, Italy
Death 6 Aug 1976 (aged 94)
Bakersfield, Kern County, California, USA
Burial Delano, Kern County, California, USA
Plot Antonio Perelli-Minetti
Memorial ID 67689803 View Source
Suggest Edits

Antonio Perelli-Minetti recorded his birthday as July 24th 1882.


Dean of winemakers dead at 95

Antonio Perelli-Minetti. known as the dean of California winemakers, is dead at age 95. Perelli-Minetti died Friday in a Bakersfield hospital.

The son of a prominent Italian winemaker. Perelli-Minetti came to the United States a year after his graduation from the Royal Institute of Viticulture and Enology in Italy in 1901.

When Prohibition was enacted in this country, Perelli-Minetti moved to Mexico, where he planted huge vineyards and became the U.S. liaison with Pancho Villa at Torreon.

After repeal. Perelli-Minetti returned to this country and worked in the wine business in Asti, Livermore, Lodi, Ukiah & San Francisco. Then he planted his-own vineyards on land others thought unpromising — the southern San Joaquin Valley near Delano.

Source: S.F. Sunday Examiner & Chronicle, August 8 1976



Constantly experimenting

Perelli-Minetti loved his work and was constantly experimenting. Last year he introduced a patented varietal grape called Perelli 101. which he said produced a full-bodied red wine "equal or better than the Napa Valley or Sonoma County wines I knew so well in my earlier years."

He did not introduce the wine into general consumption, saying he believed the grapes needed further fermentation, but he used some of them in blending other wines.

He founded his own company, A. Perelli-Minetti and Sons, in 1924. His family operates the California Wine Association's 1,200 acres of vineyards. near Delano, whose winery crushes more than 100,000 tons of grapes a year.


Antonio Perelli-Minetti took that first step in 1902 when, at the age of 20, he left in native Italy to join California's fledgling wine industry. By chance, Antonio's father had an acquaintance in America who needed a reliable, young apprentice. That person was C.P. Rossi, president of the Italian Swiss Colony at Asti. Filled with youthful wanderlust, Antonio departed for the new world, little realizing that his first step would one day make in one of California's most prominent winemakers.

Antonio's first months in America were typical for an immigrant of that time period. In spite of his degree from Italy's Royal Institute of Viticulture and Enology, Antonio was plunged into a life of hard labor. Assigned to scrub wine barrels, his days began at 6 in the morning and lasted long into the night. But the lad was able to immerse himself in the many facets he would later need to know to make superior wines and run a successful winery.

A person of lesser stamina and determination might have returned home or simply ran away, but Antonio thrived on the pressures and demands of his new life. By 1907, his hard work and thrift paid its first dividend when he bought his first California venture, the Schmidt vineyard and winery in Healdsburg. A year later, the winemaking operation was absorbed into the Anglo-Californian Wine Company, a wine-selling partnership that included Antonio and his brother. The adversities the Perelli-Minetti brothers faced in those early years would teach Antonio valuable lessons he would remember throughout his life.

The wine-selling partnership went bankrupt in 1910, but with customary aplomb, Antonio transformed misfortune into opportunity. He had long dreamed of growing grapes and building a winery in Mexico. Within seven years, Antonio had developed the largest vineyard in Mexico with over 800 acres under cultivation. It was an exciting period in Mexican history with rebel leaders Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa storming the countryside. But, when the turmoil showed no sign of ceasing by 1917, Antonio decided to return to California.

Antonio rejoined the California wine industry as winemaster of the Pagani Winery in Sonoma's Glen Ellen. His strong entrepreneurial drive soon resurfaced. In 1920, he became involved in the California Grape Products Company with Domenico and Mario Tribuno, the latter a partner in the earlier Healdsburg venture. Their product was concentrated grape juice, a ideal base for home winemaking during Prohibition.

In the late 1920's, Antonio joined a group which founded Fruit Industries, Ltd., which in turn absorbed the California Wine Association. In 1936 Antonio capped his career when he founded the winery that carried his own name, the Perelli-Minetti Winery in Delano. The winery grew and prospered over the years, and by the late 1960's, the Perelli-Minetti family began to buy up outstanding shares of the California Wine Association. Their transaction was completed in the early 1970's, giving the winery exclusive rights to more than 200 brands of wines and brandies.

Antonio Perelli-Minetti died in 1976 at the age of 96. His youthful vigor, enthusiasm and knowledge characterized the man until his final days. In every sense of the word, Antonio was a true pioneer of California winemaking. He took great interest in aiding and encouraging small wineries during their early years. Antonio also loved to experiment. He eagerly traveled to Europe to collect cuttings from the grape vines there because he believed they would thrive in the rich San Joaquin Valley soil and bring superior new wines.

When he left in native Italy for America, Antonio Perelli-Minetti could scarcely have foreseen the day when he would preside over the second largest privately owned winery in California. His supreme winemaking talent, intense dedication and love of wine and people have created a legacy that will live on for as long as people everywhere continue to savor the vintages that bear this great pioneer's name.

(Source: Son: Mario Perelli-Minetti Winery website.
See website for a picture of Antonio at his vineyard.


Antonio Perelli-Minettl recorded his birthday as July 24th 1882, in his U.S. passport application. This birth date of July 24th date is repeated in his Naturalization Papers, and Draft registration!

Antonio was born in Barletta, Italy. (This was probably his mother's home town, in southern Italy.) Antonio's Mother is report to be named: Gesu CONSIGLIA.

Antonio names his father as, Giuseppe Perelli-Minetti. He said his father and family is from Milano, Italy. His father, had a winery in Italy and wrote books on wine.

In 1901, Antonio graduated from the Royal Institute of Viticulture and Enology in Conigleano, Italy (near Venice).

In 1902 (age 20) he immigrated from Havre, France to the United States. He left France on Feb 8th 1902. Antonio says his brother came before him.

In February of 1902, Antonio arrived in San Francisco, on a train from Norfolk (Virginia).

May 18 1910, Antonio became a Naturalized citizen of the United States.

Antonio married Inez Luella, in Healdsburg, Sonoma County, Calif (per his Naturalization Papers).

In 1920, Antonio was then Vice President & Treasurer of the California Grape Products company.

In Dec of 1920 (at age 38) Antonio left the Ukiah, Calif. for Ireland "to visit mother and family" on the ship Columbia leaving from New York City (per his U.S. passport application). He also planned to visit Mexico and Guatemala in the near future (probably to scope out possible vineyards locations, during U.S. Prohibition years.) [U.S. Prohibition started in 1920 and did not end until 1933.]

In 1926, At age 44, he came again (from Naples Italy) to New York, arriving Aug 10 1926.

In 1936, Antonio founded the Perelli-Minetti Winery in Delano, CA.

At age 59, he registered for the US draft. He was living in Delano, Tulare Co, Calif. Antonio had wineries in Ukiah and Delano.

In 1976, Antonio Perelli-Minetti died at age 95. Antonio was buried in Delano (North Kern Cemetery) Califoria.


"I went on and graduated from the viticultural college. In those days it was the Royal College of Viticulture and Oenology of Coneglia."(1)

"It was toward the end of February 1902 when I arrived in
San Francisco. It took seven days, the train from Norfolk
to San Francisco."(1)

"My father was from Milano. All my family, the Perelli-Minetti, are from Milano. But my father happened to be in the south and saw my mother, and that settled him in the south. . . Did your father come to the United States? Yes" He died in the United States 1907.(1)

(1) [Source: Ruth Teiser Interviewer, Interview #1 - May 16 1969
Regional Oral History Office, 486 Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley]

Father's name = Giuseppe (Joseph) Perelli-Minetti.
[Possibly FAGrave Memorial# 37888905,
verify spouse: Maria (perhaps a second spouse?]


FATHER:(full name):
Giuseppe Giacomo Rocco PERELLI-MINETTI
father was from Milano


Inez Luella WHITNEY
Birth 2 Jan 1890, California
Death 23 Jul 1959, Orange Co., California
(Death date per CA Death Register)


1. Mario
2. William (Resident of Delano CA)
3. Jean Marie, [Birth: Ukiah, CA (per S.Security App.)
4. Frederick
5. Tony (probably Anthony)
6. Conchita HARRISON (Spouse: William "Bill" Harrison)
[See also: W.M. Harrison Vineyards and Winery – St. Helena, CA]

(Source: Rootsweb, by Ancestry)


In their memory
Plant Memorial Trees

Sponsored by Ancestry