“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 extremely proud.
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.