A Wine Icon Hits the Century Mark

The one time I met Louis J. Foppiano, a true icon of Sonoma County winemaking, he was a sprightly 74.

He had been growing grapes and making wine virtually his entire life. When he was just 14, his father died, and that left Foppiano to run the family’s vineyards with his mother.

It was that connection to the land that really defined Foppiano. I learned that when he told me that he had never been much of a wine drinker – perhaps a glass per day – rarely more, and sometimes none at all.

Hard to believe, but that was more than 25 years ago. Last Thanksgiving, Foppiano turned 100, and there was a big celebration held at the Healdsburg Golf Club.

According to reports, Foppiano had continued to prune vines until he was well into his 90s. He had always been a hard worker – a characteristic of his generation – but he had never considered working in the vineyards to be “real work.” When you love what you do, it’s a recipe for a happy… and long… life.

As for that one-glass-a-day policy, it certainly lends credence to the belief that moderate consumption of wine contributes to better overall health and longevity.

Look at it this way: Louis J. Foppiano outlived exercise-and-fitness guru Jack LaLanne.

Posted in Editor's Journal
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