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Essere Franco | Verismo Wines

Verismo Wines is a family owned business owned by four brothers, Don, Nick, Frank and John D’Ambrosio. Before Verismo Wines was conceived the four brothers ran a traditional Italian restaurant called, “Frankie Johnnie and Luigi Too” located in Mountain View, California, and New York Style Sausage Company in Sunnyvale, CA. The D’Ambrosio brothers only mandate in all their ventures is, homemade fresh food and products, and lots of it. The combination of delicious recipes, hard work and dedication led to the D’Ambrosio brother’s family success.

Each brother focused and specialized on a certain aspect of the family business. Don and Nick managed New York Style Sausage Company in Sunnyvale, while Frank and John ran the restaurant division. For 2 decades both businesses expanded and flourished.

In 1983 Frank and his wife Toni fell in love with the Napa valley. They bought a cute house on a small parcel from Doc Williams who was retiring and moving to the city. The small ranch came with a tractor, a thousand “pinot chardonnay” vines and a pair of Felco pruning shears. The Doc graciously showed Frank the ropes of vineyard management. That first year, John Thatcher from Cuvaison bought the eight tons of fruit, and an agriculture career was born…

Familia Ora e sempre - Family now and forever.

In January of 1985 the brothers voted that Frank would leave the restaurant division to develop a passive real estate portfolio in Napa and D’Ambrosio Brother’s Investment Company (DBIC) was formed. The savings that the brothers sent Frank bought 130 acres of vineyards spread over 6 ranches from St. Helena down to South Napa.

Until 2005 DBIC vineyard operations were successful in selling Ultra-premium wine grapes to some of the top wine producers in Napa, but that was soon to change. At the beginning of 2005 the romantic comedy “Sideways” was released in the United States and quickly changed the perception of Merlot in the market place. As a result, the Merlot prices fell, and the former hottest grape went from $2,700.00 a ton to $1,100.00 a ton, that is if you could find anyone to buy it.

Luckily for DBIC, Mark Mondavi purchased the 2005 Merlot that made up about 30% of the fruit grown by DBIC, but the 2006 harvest was another story. After two decades of learning how to grow quality fruit, the 2006 Merlot was not sold and was on the verge of being left to hang on the vine. Fortunately, their viticulturalist at the time caught wind of this notion and wrote a note to the DBIC office that said “Tell Frank that the Merlot fruit is too good to let hang…crush it!”

After waking up in the middle of the night three days in a row with hanging fruit nightmares, Frank followed the advice given, a few phone calls were made, and it was arranged that the fruit would be crushed at St. Supery Winery in Rutherford. Thus, the DBIC winemaking operations began.

Michael Beaulac, the winemaker at St. Supery, had been buying DBIC fruit for some time and had agreed to accommodate DBIC with a custom crush program. The 2006 harvest was so good that DBIC was able to sell twenty tons at the “hopper.” It was happening; the DBIC’s Ultra- premium fruit was turning into their own ultra-premium wine.

In 2006, we hired an in-house Vineyard Manager to manage the DBIC vineyards and to develop the wine program. Verismo Wines and concepts were developed to embody the traditions and values that had made the D’Ambrosio brothers successful for the past four decades. Verismo (VER-EEZ-MO) is the depiction of realism in Italian opera and literature during the period of 1875 to 1895. Realism in the arts is an important shift in western culture that allows for the celebration of everyday people and their efforts. As a result Verismo Wines is real people making real wine for everyone to enjoy.

The 2006 inaugural vintage is a culmination of 23 years of learning how to grow Ultra- premium wine grapes and understanding the close relationship that exists between the vineyards and the winery. The 2006 vintage also demonstrates the collaboration that takes place to create wine that is reflective of its roots and its story.

After selling “Super-fruit” for two decades to many of the Napa Valley wine industry stars, such as Caymus, Paul Hobbs, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Duckhorn, and many others, Verismo Wines and its labels Essere Franco and Cummara will now shine with their own light.

Our wines are designed to bring forth outstanding quality from the vineyard directly to the consumer at an exceptional value. Because Verismo Wines is a subsidiary of DBIC, DBIC is able to provide the same quality fruit to Verismo for a fraction of the price that it normally charges to other wineries. We take pride in our ability to provide exceptional wines at an exceptional price to our loyal cliental. Thank you for your support and patronage!