Brothers Joseph and John Barberis, were among the boat-loads of Italians who emigrated to America at the turn of the last century to fulfill dreams of a better life where they might find “streets paved in gold.” Upon arrival, they found no “gold streets,” but still knew that he had been adopted by a great nation that would demand hard work to survive. While many of their fellow émigrés, who also made that perilous voyage, chose work on railroads, warehouses, or coal mines, they chose the land. They began “truck gardening,” selling home-grown produce from a vehicle in Calistoga and neighboring communities. Joseph passed away leaving, John and his wife, Julia, to carry on. By scrimping and saving and adopting a Spartan life-style, John and Julia found funds to purchase two parcels of land on the outskirts of Calistoga, the acreage heavily planted with walnut, prune trees, and various grape varieties, the parcels separated by a year-round stream called Garnett creek.
Five children were born to the John and Julia union, including two sons (Nathan and Mario) and three daughters (Lisa, Lena and Florence). John and Julia passed away in the fifties, leaving the property to the five children, who continued to run the ranch as a joint venture.
Rudy Mancini, his wife, Patricia, with Rudy’s brother-in-law Robert Barberis, and wife Lois, formed a grape ranching partnership, Barcini Vineyards, having purchased this 14 acre parcel of land from Robert’s Dad, Nathan, and other family heirs inherited from their father. The prune and grape orchard was removed, and the acreage planted in Zinfandel and Petite Syrah.
In the 30’s Nathan, nick-named “Ding“, and his wife, Patricia, owned and operated a small restaurant in downtown Calistoga called The Village Green, subsequently sold the business, and opened a “Mom & Pop” grocery store called Ding’s Food Center in downtown Calistoga. During the period of 1953-1968 , Nathan, and Patricia acquired 53 acres of land just a ‘stone-throw’ from Nathan’s parents’ ranch, both properties on the outskirts of Calistoga. It seemed only natural that the land, offering a spectacular panoramic view of the palisades, and Mt. Saint Helena would be named the View Ranch. The ranch was originally planted in walnut, and prune orchards. The first vineyards were planted in the late 50’s, and his grapes were sold with a hand-shake with Brother Timothy, of the Christian Brothers Winery.
Nathan passed away in 1970. His Son Robert stepped in to farm the vineyard for his mother, and family, for many years. When his mother Patricia passed on in 1996, the land was divided, and handed down to her son Robert, and her daughter Patricia. At her daughter’s passing, Patricia’s portion of the property was inherited by her children Dawn, and Mark Mancini.
Robert, with the help of his son Buddy Barberis, continued to farm the View Ranch, and Barcini Vineyards for the family. A few years later Dawn, and Mark’s portion became Mancini Vineyards, and then soon after Barcinis’ partnership was dissolved and the land divided equally. The Mancini Portion owned by Rudy Mancini re-named Stonebridge Vineyards. Dawn continues to manage Mancini Family Estates till today.
Robert passed away in 2009. His son Buddy Barberis completing his father’s legacy, took over his family’s ranch for his mother Lois, sisters, and wife.
With experienced help, and good vineyard practices, our vineyards have managed to maintain the Napa Valley’s world-wide reputation of producing great vintages. Our excellent soils, combined with-long warm days, and cool nights, approximate the Mediterranean conditions of making fine wines. Today we continue to be growers for some of the most celebrated wine–makers from the Napa Valley, and as far as Connecticut.
The Calistoga region was recently given official status as an American Viticultural Area (AVA), in recognition of its distinctiveness as a unique place within the Napa Valley for growing wine grapes. Calistoga has a rich history of colorful, famous, and infamous characters, who have left their mark on the landscape. These would include the famous author Robert Louis Stevenson, who in 1879, vacationed in a small, rustic cabin with his young bride, a literal stones-throw from the View Ranch. Stevenson made frequent trips to Calistoga, from where he made his first phone call. Stevenson’s visits to local vineyards inspired him to pen the famous Silverado Squatters, in which he writes:… The beginning of vine-planting is like the beginning of mining of precious metals: the wine-grower also “Prospects.” One corner of the land after another is tried with one type of grape after another. This is a failure; that is better; a third best. So bit by bit, they grope about for their Clos Vougeot and Lafitte …and…the wine is bottled poetry.