Winery profile: Guglielmo family winemakers celebrate with guests at 24th Harvest Festival
Guglielmo Winery to celebrate 90 years of wine making this month
Published in the Sept. 2-15, 2015 issue of Morgan Hill Life
By Staff Report
A special celebration of wine, food, music and friends takes place every year in late summer at Guglielmo Winery. The 24th annual Harvest Festival brought people together at the popular Morgan Hill winery Aug. 15 for a fun afternoon and evening highlighted by a highly competitive grape-stomping.
This year’s event found Gilroy resident Lilly Delao dancing with her friend Miguel Perez from Salinas to songs performed by the rock ‘n’ roll band The Heartbeats, which plays music from various eras.
“I try to come every year,” Delao said. “What attracts me is the salami toss, the fun environment, the friendly people, good wine and good food. It’s a celebration of the community and you can talk to anyone. Everyone’s having a good time.”
She especially enjoys the Guglielmo Winery tradition of a prayer blessing of the grape harvest right before dinner is served, she said.
“I’m Catholic and I enjoy hearing the priest bless the harvest and wish us all well,” she said. “It’s classy. It brings an appreciation of a higher power and that we’re not here on the planet by ourselves but there is someone looking over us and blessing us and the new year.”
This year’s Harvest Festival was the first time Perez attended and he was impressed with the quality of Guglielmo wines he sampled, he said. He said he’ll encourage people from Monterey County to visit the South Valley and try out the wines here.
“It’s a wonderful joyous occasion. We’re having a great time,” he said. “I really enjoy the wine from here. I’m still kind of learning about the wine in this area and I do enjoy it….The food was fabulous. It’s just a fun afternoon adventure to come and enjoy yourself and meet new people.”
Gene Guglielmo, co-owner of the winery, said the Harvest Festival tradition started off small 24 years ago but has grown popular over the years with wine club members who come from the South Valley as well as all over the Bay Area and Monterey County.
“It’s just to show our appreciation to our customers and to be grateful for the harvest that’s coming and to be thankful for our family and what they’ve accomplished in the last three generations,” he said. “It helps us reflect on that – and, of course, to have everybody come here and have a great time.”
Many wine club members from San Jose and elsewhere in Silicon Valley bring their friends to the event, helping introduce new people to the wineries of the South Valley, he said.
Among the annual traditions is the special pastry desserts — such as the popular “chocolate salami” — concocted by a team of chefs that work for Disney Resorts. Gene’s brother George Guglielmo’s son-in-law is the executive chef for the resorts, so that’s how the winery has a connection to Disney, Guglielmo explained.
As for a prediction of this fall’s grape harvest, Gene said, “It looks like the quality is going to be really good.”
Guglielmo Winery usually starts harvesting in September, but the Zinfandel grapes are peaking early this year so they might be sending pickers into the vineyards at the end of August, he said.
The Guglielmo family invites local residents to join them in a celebratory toast for its 90th year anniversary in the wine-making business at a special gala.
“We’re a family business and everyone who works for us are family and all our customers we consider family,” Guglielmo said.