It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Stefano Riboli, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and the beloved patriarch of San Antonio Winery. He passed peacefully at his home surrounded by family on July 3 and went to be with our Lord at the age of 97.
Stefano was born in Los Angeles on Sept. 8, 1921, and lived there until his parents returned to Italy when he was three years old. He was raised in the small mountain village of Berzo San Fermo, just north of Bergamo, Italy. As a young boy in Berzo, Stefano grew up a shepherd boy herding “Alpina” brown cows in beautiful Alpine mountain pastures during the spring and summer months. It was in these mountains that Stefano’s passion for all animals blossomed. He was a lover of nature and all things big and small.
At the age of 16, Stefano was given the opportunity to live the “American Dream” and was sponsored by his uncle Santo Cambianica to come and work at what was then the very small San Antonio Winery that Santo founded in 1917 located in the community of Lincoln Heights, the former center of the Italian community of Los Angeles. Uncle Santo had no children and mentored and nurtured Stefano like a son. Stefano’s deep faith in God, humanity, and kindness toward all people came from the examples set by his Uncle Santo.
After the Second World War, Stefano met his wife Maddalena on her family’s farm in Chino, Calif. It was love at first sight and they married in 1946, settling down to raise a family a few blocks away from the winery. Throughout their 73 years together, they raised three children (all of whom work at the winery), helped raise numerous grandchildren (many of whom work at the winery), and together have been the driving force behind the winery’s success. Their love for each other was beyond words and they were a great example of teamwork and commitment, always supporting each other’s decisions whether at home or at work.
Stefano was an integral part of the success of the San Antonio Winery. His countless hours of hard work, love, and dedication with his lifelong love, Maddalena, is the reason for the winery’s prosperity today. Throughout their lifetime they witnessed their small neighborhood winery grow to two additional locations including Ontario, east of Los Angeles, and Paso Robles, where the Riboli family also owns five estate vineyards, including the Stefano Vineyard in his name, four in Monterey, and one in Napa. Stefano was also able to witness Wine Enthusiast Magazine name Riboli Family of San Antonio Winery the 2018 “American Winery of the Year”.
Stefano was fondly referred to as Papa Steve. He always welcomed everyone with a smiling face, a glass of wine, and an amazing recollection of names, history, and a colorful story about his early days in Italy and the winery. His unmatched wit, preciseness, generosity, and charm instantly drew everyone to him. His warmth and kindness kept them coming back.
For decades, longtime patrons visited the winery just to see him. He loved spending every day at the place he called home while making it feel like home for his loyal customers and his new ones; he always made time for everyone.
A dedicated family man, Stefano is survived by his three children: Santo (Joan), Cathy (Nino), and Steve (Sindee), who run the winery today. He leaves behind many grandchildren: Anthony, Steve, Lisa, Michael, Jennifer, David, Dante, Blake, Christopher, and Alex. He is also survived by seven great-grandchildren.
Stefano left an indelible mark on his family and his community that will never be forgotten. His legacy will live on forever in everyone’s hearts and in the soul of the winery he loved. As Stefano would always say, “Sempre Avanti”, just keep moving forward no matter what challenges life brings you.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Saint Peter’s Italian Catholic Church in memory of Stefano Riboli. Donations can be made at https://stpeteritalianchurchla.org/ or for assistance call 323-225-8119.
- The Riboli Family
Date: Monday, July 22, 2019
Location: Saint Peter’s Italian Catholic Church
Address: 1039 N. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Viewing: 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Mass: 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Condolences and Small Bites: 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Burial: Family Only
Please be aware that parking will be limited. Complimentary shuttle service will be provided from the parking lots below to and from Saint Peter’s Church or San Antonio Winery
Stefano’s Celebration of Life
Location: San Antonio Winery
Address: 737 Lamar St. Los Angeles, CA 90031
Time: 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Please RSVP with Maria Zavala or Maria Duarte
MZavala@RiboliWines.com – Mduarte@RiboliWines.com
Parking and Transportation are within 1 mile of St. Peter’s Church or the San Antonio Winery
1. Parking at Grace Hall, 150 North Ave 19. Provided by Young Nak Church.
2. 1819 Barranca Street. Provided by Young Nak Church.
3. 420 Bernard Street. 1 block from St. Peter’s Church
Transportation: Shuttle service will be available from 8:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
San Antonio Winery’s Los Angeles location will be closed for business on July 22 in memory of Stefano Riboli.