German When winemaker Ettore Biraghi first laid eyes on Mendocino, he knew it immediately to be an ideal terroir for the production of pure, organic, and low-intervention fine wines. Establishing his vineyard and winery in Hopland, he took his place in the centuries-long history of one of California’s most dramatic winegrowing regions—one whose future is as promising as its past is historic.
Late 15th Century:The coastline of Northern California is first charted by Spanish explorer Lopez Suárez de Mendoza and his cousin Antonio de Mendoza, the first viceroy of New Spain, earning the region’s name of “Mendocino” and firmly planting an international, European footprint in the region.
1850s: The first vines are planted in Mendocino, with first-generation Italian immigrants experienced in winemaking playing an important role in advancing the region from wilderness to an agricultural mecca.
1920: The United States government institutes an ill-advised Prohibition law which all but erases the production of fine wine in the region.
1933: Prohibition is overturned, and California wineries wipe out the cobwebs and resume production. Mendocino, however, doesn’t begin to find its stride again until the 1970’s.
1978: Ettore winemaker and founder Ettore Biraghi is born the son of flower growers in Varese, Italy, a small city northwest of Milan in the country’s Lombardy region
1984: The broader Mendocino AVA is established. Amended in 1998, this classification has since produced twelve distinct subregions.
2005: Ettore begins his professional career as an agronomist with a winegrower in the Ticino Canton of Mendrisiotto, Switzerland—just across the Alps from Lugano, Italy.
2008: Together with business partner Fabio Bruni—with whom the winemaker shares an intense, visceral passion for wine—Ettore founds the Tenuta Agricola Luigina winery in Stabio, Switzerland. In this new venture, Ettore manages 2.5 hectares of his own vineyards of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Viognier vines, varieties that will come to inspire him as a vigneron and help to establish not just his voice as a winemaker of passion, but his deep respect for nature, with each vintage unique from the last.
2010: Ettore’s first wine for Tenuta Agricola Luiginia is released and wins immediate praise, attention, and prizes from the international wine community.
2015: Visiting vineyards in California, Ettore discovers the tiny town of Hopland in Mendocino’s Sanel Valley. In this warm, wild microclimate, Ettore is fascinated by the grapes’ ability to ripen and produce expressive wine without any kind of unnatural treatment, with the result being fine wines of outstanding quality.
2016: Ettore moves to Switzerland, where his major winemaking operations are located.
2017: Ettore is named Gault & Millau’s “Rookie of the Year,” distinguishing him as an important new winemaker with accolades from of France’s most prestigious dining guides.
2019: Ettore brings his talents to California, realizing a dream of producing world-class fine wines in the Sanel Valley. Ettore releases his first organic and terroir-driven range of Chardonnay and Merlot wines from Mendocino.
2019: Ettore is recognized again by Gault & Millau as one of the top winegrowers in Southern Switzerland.
2020: Ettore’s full line of organic wines is released to American wine lovers for the first time, establishing his reputation as one of Northern California’s most dynamic, passionate vignerons.