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Brillante! Recognizing Heck Family Roots at Bacigalupi Vineyards

Posted on September 12, 2017

Bacigalupi Vineyards announces the release of the Brillante sparkling wine as a family tribute to Paul Robert Heck, forty years after his passing. Pamela Bacigalupi, grape grower and part owner at Bacigalupi Vineyards and Heck’s daughter, is pleased to recognize her Heck family roots by dedicating the new sparkler to him. According to Pam, “The name evokes his strength of character, dynamism, and positive nature.”

The 2014 Brillante is an estate-grown Méthode Champenoise cuvée of 50 percent Chardonnay and 50 percent Pinot Noir, all grown on the family estate in the Russian River Valley. Released in an extremely limited production, each 750-ml bottle retails for $70.

Bacigalupi Vineyards is a three-generation Bacigalupi-owned and -operated vineyard and winery in Healdsburg. The family’s estate is best recognized as a major contributor to the winning Chardonnay at the 1976 Paris Tasting. Little known is that multigenerational wine families merged and a wine legacy set down deeper roots when Pam Heck married John Bacigalupi in 1982.

Paul Robert Heck was the son of Adolf Ludwig Heck Sr. Born in Alsace-Lorraine in 1890, Adolf emigrated to America in the early 1900s. He reopened Cook’s Imperial Champagne Cellars in St. Louis for the American Wine Company after Prohibition. When Paul returned from World War II, he joined his father and worked for the American Wine Company. In 1948 Paul and his wife, Anna Marie, moved to Lodi, where Paul worked for Italian Swiss Colony. After he became manager of all Italian Swiss Colony production, he relocated to Healdsburg, California, while overseeing operations in the company’s Asti winery. A Sonoma County legacy had begun.

Along with his brother Adolf Jr., Paul and their families purchased Korbel Champagne Cellars in 1954. Korbel Champagne Cellars is still owned in part by Heck descendants.

Pam spent her childhood on the Korbel estate, riding horses and living and working around grapevines and the winery. Her first job was picking prunes on the Korbel ranch with her brothers, but soon she did jobs like wiping bottles just off the labeling line, working the corking machine, and managing Korbel’s giftshop in a historic train station. Pam attended nursing school at the University of Nevada–Reno and graduated with a bachelor of science degree. She worked as a nurse in Sonoma County for 35 years, and her passions for biology and particularly viticulture are fulfilled simultaneously as she farms Bacigalupi Vineyards with her husband, John, and negotiates relationships (including contracts) with local grape buyers.

The union between the Heck and Bacigalupi families is one that can be born only in a small farming community. Entertaining and historic, stories and old photos are always on hand at the Bacigalupi tasting room and are especially delicious enjoyed with a glass of Brillante.


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