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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Sonoma County farmer passes

Trentadue Winery in the Alexander Valley lost its founder.  Leo Trentadue passed away earlier this month at the age of 88. He spent his life in agriculture except for the his time in the army during WWII. Leo started on the family's apricot farm in the Santa Clara Valley (now part of Silicon Valley).  He and his wife moved to Sonoma County's Alexander Valley about 55 years ago to a ranch planted to plums and grape vines.

Alexander Valley is well-known amongst wine folks. When Leo Trentadue and is wife moved there it was an unknown, remote area. He was one of the first to plant new vines in Sonoma County after Prohibition. He helped put Alexander Valley on the map.

The Trentadue family owns one the the oldest vineyards around. It was planted to obscure varieties like Carignane and Alicante Bouschet in the 1880s. Most people would have cleared it out and replanted years ago, but not Leo.

He opened Trentadue Winery in 1969--several years before the California wine boom began. They make some solid red wines and have a popular venue for wine country weddings.

The family in 1969 when they opened the winery
Image from trentadue.com