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 four generations of Sebastianis in the wine business, Donny doesn’t have to look far for inspiration.
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.
“My great-grandfather stands as a role model to me, he was industrious and entrepreneurial.”
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.
Samuele acquired the site of the current Sebastiani winery, originally built by the Franciscan monks, and added another building alongside it.
Samuele and his youngest son, August, spearhead the winery management business. August quickly gains a reputation as one of America’s most skilled and innovative winemakers.
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.
“My grandfather quickly gained a reputation as being one of America’s most skilled and innovative winemakers.”
Sylvia Sebastiani publishes the Sebastiani family cookbook, “Mangiamo”.
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.
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.
“The company’s biggest growth came in the late 1980’s when we built a large-volume, Central Valley-based portfolio.”
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.
Don Sebastiani & Sons is named 2005 Wine Star Award “American Winery of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
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
“I look forward to continuing the progress that previous generations in my family have made.”
Don Sebastiani and Sons launches its heritage brand Don & Sons focusing on Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast.
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 award-winning tequilas and a sparkling water brand..
Don Sebastiani & Sons launches Flybird Cocktails, a 100% Blue Weber Agave-based line of margaritas made in Jalisco, Mexico, that soars to success as the #2 most popular wine-based cocktail in 750mL format.