“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cupertino in Santa Clara County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Picchetti Ranch

A Glimpse of Santa Clara County's Agricultural Past

Picchetti Ranch Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Joseph Alvarado, July 23, 2022
1. Picchetti Ranch Marker
The Picchetti Winery and surrounding lands are remnants of Santa Clara Valley’s agricultural past. In 1872, Vincenzo Picchetti immigrated to the area from Italy and began work as a foreman for a Jesuit winery at Villa Maria. After the arrival of his younger brother, Secundo, the Picchetti brothers bought 60 acres of land on this ridge for $1,500 with hopes of establishing their own vineyard. In 1882, the Picchettis began clearing land and built the homestead house, where they lived until completing the larger main house in 1886.

At first, the Picchettis sold their grapes to local wineries. In 1896, they built the winery building and began producing their own wine. Over the following decades, they added the surrounding buildings, including the blacksmith shop, which doubled as a brandy distillery, the fermentation building, the stables, and the washhouse.

Surviving Prohibition
At his death in 1904, Vincenzo left the winery to his sons, John and Antone, who would run the ranch through one of its biggest challenges: Prohibition. When the 18th Amendment banning the sale of alcohol passed
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in 1919, it threatened the survival of winemakers throughout the country. To sustain the ranch, John and Antone sold acres of vineyards and ripped out others to plant prune and apricot orchards. This trend occurred throughout the region. In 1933, when Prohibition was repealed, there were only 6,500 acres of vineyards remaining in Santa Clara County, compared with 8,000 acres in 1919.

However, winemaking did not cease entirely during Prohibition. The Prohibition laws allowed families to produce up to 200 gallons a year for private consumption. Since there were two families of Picchettis living at the ranch, they could make 400 gallons a year. By most accounts, Prohibition did not make the hills “dry.”

After Prohibition
Local winemakers continued to face challenges after Prohibition when new government standards and the growth of larger wineries made it difficult for small growers to compete. The Picchettis never resumed commercial wine production after Prohibition, but they did make wine for family use until 1963. In the later years at the ranch, fruit orchards, livestock, and horse boarding became more important parts of the operation. Over the years, four generations of Picchettis lived and worked here, making Picchetti Ranch one of the longest lasting family ranches in the region.

Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
Picchetti Ranch Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Joseph Alvarado, July 23, 2022
2. Picchetti Ranch Marker
1976, the Picchetti family sold 108 acres to the Open Space District, creating the Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve. Since 1982, the District has leased the winery complex to various private wineries to continue winery operations and retain the historic use of this site. Today, the Preserve is open for hiking and equestrian use. Visitors are welcome to explore the remnant orchards and vineyards, as well as the winery complex.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1882.
Location. 37° 17.646′ N, 122° 5.466′ W. Marker is in Cupertino, California, in Santa Clara County. Marker can be reached from Montebello Road. The resin marker is mounted to a metal stand at the Zinfandel Trailhead at the south end of the Picchetti Ranch parking lot. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 13100 Montebello Road, Cupertino CA 95014, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Everyday Life at the Ranch (within shouting distance of this marker); Winery and Ranch Operations (within shouting distance of this marker); The First Home on the Ranch (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Stevens Creek Dam & Reservoir (approx. ¾ mile away); Garrod Farms
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(approx. 2.1 miles away); Arroyo de San Joseph Cupertino (approx. 2.4 miles away); Captain Elisha Stephens (approx. 2.6 miles away); Paul Masson Mountain Winery (approx. 2.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cupertino.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 1, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 24, 2022, by Joseph Alvarado of Livermore, California. This page has been viewed 96 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 26, 2022, by Joseph Alvarado of Livermore, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 22, 2024