There’s something indelible about wine and family. Sure, other traditions may be passed from one generation to the next, but few convey the conviviality felt when a bottle is passed around the table, among grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and guests (of legal age, of course).

Alberto and Leticia Rafanelli

Alberto and Leticia Rafanelli, the originators of a wine dynasty.

Alberto Rafanelli

It’s a kinship made more potent when the bottle itself is the subject of patrimonial passion, which helps explain the ineffable flavour of an A. Rafanelli wine.

An Italian immigrant, Alberto Rafanelli first founded A. Rafanelli Winery in the early 1900s.  He settled in Sonoma’s Healdsburg area with his family, where he started growing grapes and making wine.

After prohibition, Alberto’s son Americo showed interest in the family business and soon found himself carrying on its tradition. The torch had been passed. He moved the winery to the Dry Creek Valley in the early 1950s, where he began to farm his Zinfandel and raise his family. But it wasn’t until the early ‘70s that he came out with the present-day label and started to sell his wine commercially.

With its familial roots firmly planted, the vines of the Rafanelli family business continued to spread as the family tree continued to grow. Still located in Dry Creek Valley, the winery is now in its fourth generation of growing grapes and making wine.


See for Yourself

In Napa and Sonoma, scenic bike routes wind through small towns and meandering walking trails exist only a few hours from bustling San Francisco.

Detailed Itinerary


David Rafanelli

Current owner of A. Rafanelli David Rafanelli (Antonio’s grandson).

Quality over Quantity

A. Rafanelli specializes in Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The small, rustic winery sits on a knoll overlooking the valley, surrounded by some of its 85 acres of hillside vineyards, which yield 11,000 cases annually.

Today, Americo’s son David and his wife Patty own and operate the business. Their eldest daughter, Shelly, has taken over all production at the winery, while her sister Stacy is in charge of daily operations. With the help of Shelly’s husband Craig Fehlman, who manages all of their vineyards, they work to carry on the family tradition, and keep improving the wines.

Priding themselves on quality over quantity, the current generation of Rafanellis believes in traditional winemaking practices.

You could say it’s in their blood.


About the Author

Kathy Stewart

Wearing two hats as a Trip Designer and B&R’s Director of Media Relations, Kathy Stewart has not only designed and guided trips all over the globe, but channels her abundant energy and expertise into sharing B&R with the world. Her headshot is in black and white because she’s classy like that.




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2 Responses to The Patrimonial Passion
of A. Rafanelli

  1. M. Booth says:

    …. would like to see a detailed itinerary of the Sonoma trip and ask what if one does not want to cycle, what are the options ????

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