“Piacere!” – We
are pleased to meet you. We are the two
founding owners of Gadino Cellars, Bill Gadino and Aleta Saccuta Gadino, who
share a similar Italian family heritage of home winemaking. Our grandfathers emmigrated from Italy in the early 1900’s and
brought with them the custom of making wine for family and neighbors. Those rustic and often robust wines—and the
passion and home-grown skill that infused them—were an essential part of our
daily lives. As children, we were
permitted a small glass during Sunday and holiday meals. The love of a glass of wine to enhance good
food and family congeniality was instilled in both of us at an early age. Needless to say, technology has come a long
way since those days and has helped us to produce wines of which we are
While living in California, we visited many small wineries
and started on our own journey into amateur winemaking. In 1983, our first vintage, a hearty backyard
Zinfandel, placed us steadfastly in the footsteps of our Italian grandfathers. Following a move to the East Coast in 1984,
Bill arranged for grapes to be shipped from California. This “Gadino Vino,” crafted in the cellar of
our home, continued to improve each vintage year. Our relatives and friends were the grateful
recipients of our labor of love.
Several years later, the emerging Virginia wine market
caught our attention with the ever-improving quality of a handful of new
wineries. In 1989, harboring a dream of
someday operating our own commercial winery, we purchased fifteen acres of land
in Rappahannock County, Virginia. We
began planting vines and for the next twelve years we managed the vineyard from
afar as “weekend warriors”, traveling from our Fairfax home. Our
commitment was truly a labor of love and determination.
We always looked forward to our yearly harvest festival when
friends, family and acquaintances braved whatever the weather presented and
helped us harvest several tons of grapes.
We couldn’t have done it without them!
The Cabernet Franc harvest from our vineyard was sold exclusively to a
newly established local winery from which many medals were garnered. The rest of our harvest filled our wine
cellar throughout the years as our noncommercial Echo Ridge wines. During these years we observed that the
rolling land in the Blue Ridge foothills yielded fruity, spicy wines,
particularly our Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
With an eye toward a third career, we built a home in 2002 on
our Rappahannock County property.
Finally, we took the leap to open our own commercial winery when our
daughter Stephanie and her husband Derek showed interest in carrying on the
family tradition. Ground was broken for
Gadino Cellars in April 2004. The cellar
was carved out of the hillside to maintain a more constant temperature for wine
production. With only days to spare
before our 2004 harvest, the construction of the cellar was completed. Our first crush followed, utilizing the
latest winemaking equipment and processes.
Four vintage years later, we produce—by choice—under 1500
cases of wine per year. We continue to
focus on creating small lots of fine quality wine, presenting them to our
guests in our comfortable tasting room in a friendly, family-style atmosphere. Indeed, tasting room purchases constitute 85
per cent of our annual sales with restaurants and a few select wine
shops making up the rest. We revel in
sharing the local beauty of Rappahannock with our visitors and invite you to
delight in the mountain vistas and vineyard views while you enjoy a glass of
“poetry in a bottle” on our verandah.
tradition since 1993, we invite volunteers to help with the grape
harvest every Fall. The Harvest Picnic has
evolved into an event open to volunteers who sign up throughout
the year. If interested, ask a tasting room associate the next time you
visiting the winery.
Our passion for winemaking continues through our daughter, Stephanie
(Assistant Winemaker & Tasting Room Manager) and Derek, our son-in-law (Operations
Manager) and—who knows? In the future,
Steph and Derek’s children, Sofia and Dominik, may be greeting your children
with a cheery “Piacere!” as they step
through our doors to sample Gadino Cellars wine.