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Marcucci Farms & Fava Brothers Vineyard began as the dream of two Italian immigrants, Martino and Lorenzo Fava. They left their home in Lucca, journeying to San Francisco in the early 1880s, and eventually settled in the Russian River Valley on forty acres with a view to Mount St. Helena, a dormant volcano named “Sleeping Woman” by Native Americans. The mountaintop, which on many mornings rose above a halo of low clouds, kept the brothers’ sights high, but there was little time to rest. They worked hard and prospered, and their families grew. Now, six generations later, the brothers’ descendents still work the land. Upon the deaths of Martino and Lorenzo, the ranch was split in half. Twenty acres passed to Martino’s daughter, Delvina, who married Victor Papera. They gave their daughter and son-in-law, Verna and Phillip Marcucci, two acres as a wedding gift to build a home. Their son, Phillip, loved the land and helped his grandfather with farming, tending the vines, and making homemade wine and vinegar.

 
 

 

     
 

Phillip and Cheri Marcucci purchased the land from Phillip’s grandparents in 1973. They raised their daughters to enjoy farming and winemaking. Following family tradition, Stephanie and Jacqueline and their husbands have made their homes on the property. Their children are learning about grape growing and helping their parents and grandparents with Marcucci Farms and Fava Brothers Vineyard. The rise of corporate agriculture has discouraged many family farmers, but the Marcucci clan remains tied to the land that Phillip’s great-uncle Lorenzo and great-grandfather Martino first tilled.

The Russian River Valley with its fertile soil is renown for grape growing. When the Fava Brothers settled on the forty acres on Laguna Road in 1907, they brought their dedication to farming and knowledge of grapes. The farm had been planted with apples, prunes, gooseberries and grapes—Burger, Pedro and Mission. During the next seven years, Martino and Lorenzo removed the fruit trees and berries and planted all thirty farmable acres in grapes. Their style of tending vines without trellises continues today, along with other sustainable and new practices. As well as growing Zinfandel grapes for their Italian field blend Fava Brothers Zinfandel Wine, Marcucci Farms produces Zinfandel vinegar from the brothers’ recipe and bottles olive oil.

“Tell it again!” chorus Phillip’s grandchildren—Martino Fava’s great-great-great grandchildren—when they sit around the Marcucci dining table and listen to the old stories. Phillip is a history buff as well as vintner. He and Cheri and their daughters know that farming your own land is a good life, and the newest generation is learning every step. They learn to drive a tractor, disc a field, and stomp grapes for vinegar the old-world way. They’ve heard that the farm used horses until 1949 and that their great-great-grandfather Vic rigged the first tractor to pull the horse-drawn equipment. The faded photos in the Marcucci albums reveal the harsh realities of depression farming, but they also show how in the old days, on Sunday afternoons after the noon dinner, with friends and family visiting from San Francisco or Sacramento, the gentlemen sat on the bench in the shade, smoked their pipes, and made trips to the basement to tap a barrel and enjoy the fruits of their labors. In the same hardworking, fun-loving tradition, the Marcucci clan intends to keep the land in the family for generations to come. If you’d like to be notified when their tasting room will be open for visiting, please contact Marcucci Farms.

 

   
 

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