Harry Merlo Sr. &
Harry Merlo Jr.

The Merlo Italian passion for winemaking stems from centuries of cultivating family vineyards in the province of Alessandria, Italy where today cousin Angelo Merlo lives in the 780 year old Ca'bella, “Villa di Merlo”, and tends his Barbera and Dolcetto grapes.

Harry Merlo Sr. began at the age of five crushing grapes with his feet below the railroad tracks in the Italian section of Stirling City, California. His Father, Giuseppe Merlo, an Italian immigrant, was considered the wine steward of the High Sierra lumber town. He would set a washtub on the woodshed floor and dump into it a 50-pound lug of zinfandel grapes and young Harry would begin to stomp. Thus began his association with the wine industry. Harry has often said that he qualifies as a connoisseur of wine because he has purple feet.

The tradition continued with the acquisition of Harry’s vineyard near Geyserville, California in 1965. In the mid 1960’s he delivered his first truckload of grapes to Italian Swiss Colony Winery. They weighed his truck and gave him a receipt priced at $50 per ton.

Family interest in winemaking led his son, Harry Jr., to study viticulture and enology at California State University, Fresno. Following graduation, Harry Jr. ultimately became Manager of Lago di Merlo Vineyards & Winery at the Merlo Ranch in Sonoma County.

Under his third generation leadership, the Merlo’s expanded the vineyard to over 200 acres.