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The Cucamonga Winery

Aerial view of the Cucamonga WineryThe Cucamonga Winery claimed to be the original one of the district containing the Cucamonga name. It also contributed a great deal to making the Cucamonga name famous for its table wines, not only in California, but also in the Eastern part of the country. It was mainly owned and operated by the Accomazzo family.

Alfred Accomazzo and his brother Eduardo, natives of San Desiderio in the Asti region of Piedmont, Italy, came to California as young men in 1902. They engaged in various trades in San Francisco and in the Los Angeles area, including running their first Bonded Winery in Glendale, California in 1916. During Prohibition they turned to the real estate business, but after Repeal the Accomazzos became permanently identified with the wine industry.

The Cucamonga Winery was founded in 1933, when Alfred Accomazzo joined forces with several partners (Dominic Merlo, Mary Pastrone and Louis Gotto) to operate a winery in the heart of Cucamonga. Vineyards were acquired and soon extended. In 1935 Louis Gotto, sold out his interest to Joseph Ettor, the man who became mainly responsible for developing the winery’s business in the East and who contributed greatly to making the Cucamonga name famous for high-quality wines from that district. Cucamonga Winery wines were distributed in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Illinois and Ohio. The Romano brand was named after a big distributor in New York, a good customer who wanted to have his name on the label. During Prohibition, Mr. Ettor had shipped grapes to the home winemakers on the East Coast, contacts he built upon after Repeal when many of the same people became wine distributors for Cucamonga Winery wines.

In 1950 Ed Accomazzo (son of Eduardo) began assisting, and eventually managed the winery. Alfred Accomazzo passed away in 1960, but his son, Arthur continued the family tradition. Sam Kurland was also prominent in the firm.

Acreage included 700-850 acres of vineyards spread throughout the Cucamonga Valley. Cucamonga Winery also had vineyards in the North Coast Counties. Ed Accomazzo served on the Board of Directors of the San Gabriel Valley Labor Association during the active years of the Bracero program in the 1950s, and as a director for the Wine Institute during the late 1950s to mid-1970s. Because of escalating taxes, most area vineyard owners were eventually forced to sell their land. The Cucamonga Winery closed in 1975. In his retirement, Ed Accomazzo was in charge of the Cucamonga Vintners in Upland, California.

Outstanding Cucamonga Winery wines included Barbera made with 100% Barbera, which was considered among the best Barbera’s in California at the time. Also made were Zinfandel, Burgundy, Chianti, Grignolino, Claret, Barberone, Sauterne, Chablis, and Rhine Wine, Dry Muscat and Vermouth.

Information from Guide to California Wines by John Melville and from an interview with Ed Accomazzo.