For Ronei, the son of Italian immigrants, winemaking wasn’t something special or mysterious, it was simply part of life. As a youth, he spent summers in Casalvieri, a town in the Italian province of Frosinone, where his grandfather taught him the art of making wine.
Back in Michigan as an adult, he continued the tradition by making wine in his garage. His first batch left room for improvement. “We would get together with our neighbors and spend a weekend crushing grapes. I remember that my mother was at our house during our first attempt at the winemaking process. She just shook her head and in broken English, said ‘Da Vino…no comma good!’ Mama was right.”
Determined to do better, the Iacobellis improved on their process and then in 1998, bought land to begin a vineyard. “We love southern California,” says Lisa. “Ronei has close relatives there and we visit often. We found the Temecula area particularly inviting because it reminds Ronei of the land his grandparents farmed in Italy. The climate is similar and so is the topography,” she added.
They settled on a beautiful, rolling 20-acre parcel along the De Portola Wine Trail, planted their grapes along with a 125-tree olive grove. For years, they sold their grapes to local wineries. However, in 2010 Estate d’Iacobelli became a licensed winery and the couple now bottles the grapes they lovingly produce. The Iacobellis plan to offer estate-grown extra virgin olive oil alongside their limited-quantity estate wines.
In the spring of 2013, the Iacobellis purchased a 15-acre estate bordering the northern fairways of the Pala Mesa Golf Resort in Fallbrook, California. They immediately planted an additional vineyard there, along with citrus trees. Soon the estate will have a tasting room and the Iacobellis look forward to serving their wines in this spectacular location.
For Ronei and Lisa Iacobelli, making wine is part of their culture, upbringing and now, part of their daily lives. Wine-making is their passion . . . the results are your pleasure!