20121013-122002.jpgI don’t know if all ranchers make wine, but I’m pretty sure all Italian ranchers do. At least that’s the case in my family. The tradition started back in the 1920′s with Louie Damonte… he’s the original guy who came to America from Italy with one dollar in his pocket… no kidding! Then his son, Ben, made it with his family. My father-in-law (Louie as well) started making wine with his paisans back in 1980. They called it Nevada’s Finest.

Back then, not much wine was being made in Nevada, so it might have been! And now my husband, his two brothers and their paisans are continuing the tradition. And while they call their wine L’Amici I have to admit, theirs really might be Nevada’s finest! In years past they’ve even won medals at the Nevada State Fair. Yes, being from the city, that kinda makes me laugh. But fairs are now a part of my heritage. “So deal with it,” I tell my San Francisco self.


Bottling the L’Amici

Today on the ranch, the wine club bottled the wine. They manually push the corks into the neck of the bottles and even use hair driers to make the foil wrappers shrink around the bottle. It’s quite the process.


Manually Corking the Bottles

Back in the 80′s my father-in-law estimated each bottle cost them about $2.00. Well let me tell you… it’s a hell of a lot more expensive now a days. So much so I look at the quality of friends who are over before I will reach for the L’Amici! But as my husband explains to me, “Wendy it doesn’t matter how much it costs… it’s family tradition.” To that I say “Why aren’t diamonds a family tradition???”

About Wendy D

I was born in San Francisco and ended up marrying a rancher in Reno, Nevada. I have a big city job anchoring the 5 o’clock news but come home to the country where my husband’s family has ranched for 5 generations.


  1. Robert Stults says:

    Hello wendy, I was just reading your blog and read the article on the family wine. My wife loves trying different wines, so I was wanting to know if there is a place I may buy some for her or is there a place to do wine tasting that carries the wine.

    Thank you for your time.

    • Wendy D says:

      hi Robert! i just replied but i’m not sure it went through so i’m sending you another reply. we don’t sell the wine simply because i’m sure no one would buy it! it’s just for family consumption. Sorry!!

  2. Jess Esenarro says:

    Just read this blog and like the picture of Louie holding the wine bottle. I remember when I was a kid, my uncle and his friends started making wine in his barn on Longley Lane. That’s the bottle Louie is holding in the photo. I have been thinking about doing something similar with a few of my friends now. Thanks for the short trip down Memory Lane….

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