Family History

Four Generations in Wine

When you meet Donny Sebastiani, you get the sense that he is pretty comfortable in the world of wine. That’s not surprising, given his family history. As one of the fourth generation of Sebastianis in the wine business, Donny doesn’t have to look far for inspiration.

My great-grandfather stands as a role model to me—he was industrious and entrepreneurial.

1895

Samuele Sebastiani emigrated from Italy to America. With a cart and four horses, he worked hauling paving stones from Melani and Schocken Hill Quarries in Sonoma.

1904

Samuele purchased winemaking equipment and made his first 500 gallon batch of wine, selling it in bulk out of his cart. He soon married Elvira Eraldi, the saloonkeeper’s daughter.

1909

Samuele purchases the current site of Sebastiani winery and adds a new addition to the winery building originally built by Franciscan Fathers.

1930s

Samuele brought his son, August, the youngest of his three children, into the winery. August quickly gains a reputation as one of America’s most skilled and innovative winemakers.

My grandfather quickly gained a reputation as being one of America’s most skilled and innovative winemakers

1944

Shortly after Samuele’s death, August and his wife, Sylvia, purchased the family’s winery from his father’s estate. August expanded the winery and began to sell name-branded wine to the general public—the first vintner to market premium varietal wines in popularly priced magnums.

1970

Sylvia Sebastiani publishes the Sebastiani family cookbook, “Mangiamo”.

1980

August passes away and ownership of the wine company goes to Sylvia and his three children. Oldest son Sam becomes CEO & President. He embarks on an ambitious shift from lower-cost generic bottled wines to upscale varietals.

The company’s biggest growth came in the late 1980’s when we built a large-volume, Central Valley-based portfolio.

1986

Sam leaves the winery to start his own business. August & Sylvia's youngest son Don, is tapped to run the 100-year-old family company. During his first decade in charge, Don Sebastiani increases the winery’s production volume threefold by focusing on a full range of varietal wines.

2001

Don, Donny and August establish Don Sebastiani & Sons, a wine company with a reputation for quality, focusing on appellation driven wines. Mary Ann Sebastiani-Cuneo assumes leadership of Sebastiani Winery.

2005

Don Sebastiani & Sons is named 2005 Wine Star Award "American Winery of the Year" by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

I look forward to continuing the progress that previous generations in my family have made.

2009

Don and Nancy’s three children branch out as Donny Sebastiani assumes the role of running Don Sebastiani & Sons. August oversees 3 Badge Beverage and younger sister Mia, launches Mia’s Kitchen

2012

Don Sebastiani and Sons launches its heritage brand Don & Sons focusing on Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast.

2016

Don & Sons creates a new experience called “Happy Hour at Home” that marries natural, healthy foods to complement life's special occasions and celebration with friends. In addition to wine, the portfolio of products is expanded to include a line of tequila, a series of organic sparkling water, and a lineup of flavored nuts.