Nichelini Family Winery is proud to be one of the pioneers of Napa Valley’s modern wine industry. In 1884, traveling on horseback, homesteader Anton Nichelini became the first Swiss settler in Napa County’s Chiles Valley. He quickly built a homestead cabin, set about planting vines and olive trees, and started constructing a hand-hewn stone winery which included a Roman wine press. In 1890, Anton reached two milestones: the winery was bonded, and he met another Italian-Swiss immigrant, Caterina and they were married shortly thereafter. By 1895, he had finished building a seven-bedroom house above the winery. This provided a home for the growing Nichelini family and their eventual twelve children.
The winery, the restored homestead cabin, the original Roman wine press and the house still stand today and have remained in our family’s hands for more than 130 years, making us the oldest continuously family-owned and operated winery in Napa County. Our motto is “Generation to Generation”, and to date five generations of Nichelinis have passed on their winemaking knowledge as well as their traditions of hard work and careful craftsmanship. We strive to produce truly world-class, finely-crafted American wines that exhibit finesse and individuality.
Our old-fashioned attention to detail is complemented by our investment in the latest winemaking and processing equipment and the technical rigor and artistry of our winemaker. This vision is expressed in our wine label, which portrays our roots with an iconic image of our old stone cellar while also expressing our strong commitment to the future.
Aimée Sunseri, a member of the 5th generation, becomes the seventh head winemaker. “You should never stop trying to make your family proud”, says Aimée, “all throughout your life”. Her dedication, formal training and family mentorship drive her passion for her life’s work.
Nichelini expands distribution beyond California and the wines continue to win medals. The 1991 Zinfandel wins a double gold at the California State Fair where it is further honored as the best Zinfandel in its Region, the Napa Valley.
Nichelini upgrades its facilities, introduces specific varietal wines phasing out the generic blends and adding vintage dates. Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Vert (Muscadelle), and Petite Sirah become the mainstays.
The vineyards are further expanded with new varietals to meet the rising demand for white wines. Nichelini Sauvignon Vert grapevines planted in 1946, today called Muscadelle, are still in production today.
The local wine delivery business continues to grow and Nichelini’s presence expands into key restaurants and select wine stores in San Francisco. The Governor’s house wine is Nichelini.
Anton’s wine business grows and he develops new vineyards and expands his household wine delivery service throughout the Oakland East Bay area. Zinfandel grapevines that he plants in 1928 are still in production today.
Anton Nichelini becomes the first Swiss Italian settler in Chiles Valley. He plants grapevines and olive trees, constructs a substantial stone winery and builds a seven-bedroom home for his abundant family above it. This historic winery is still in use today.