Regusci Winery, Stags Leap District
Photograph: Richards Lyon
Terrill L. Grigsby came to California in 1850. A successful entrepreneur, Terrill invested in Vine Cliff in 1865, and built his own Occidental Winery in 1878, the first to be built in what is now the Stags Leap District, and one of the earliest designed for gravity feed, where grapes are delivered at the top of the winery, fermented and pressed on a middle floor, and barrel aged on the ground floor. Fortunes changed as Phylloxera and Prohibition held sway, however, and after Grigsby departed, dairy cows vied with stills within the winery’s walls.
In 1932, Gaetano Regusci bought the former T.L. Grigsby property of 286 acres and farmed its hillside vineyard, as well as fields of corn and hay, prune and walnut orchards, hogs and herds of dairy and beef cattle. For decades Gaetano and his son Angelo readied their produce for market and sold their finished beef to butcher shops and grapes to other wineries. In 1995, Angelo’s son Jim spearheaded an effort to reestablish the old winery on the property and together, he and his father restored the stone building. Their first crush was in 1996 and Regusci Winery opened to the public two years later. In 2005, the Napa County Farm Bureau honored Angelo, still an active cattleman, dairyman, farmer, businessman, and viticulturalist, as Agriculturalist of the Year.
When Dick went to photograph Angelo, he found him working on his truck in the garage. Dick took to him immediately, for they are both what Dick calls “fiddlers,” always repairing, improving and adapting pieces of equipment. Dick photographed Angelo in the arbor next to his house.