Vince Indelicato — the last survivor among three sons of Gaspare Indelicato that parlayed their father’s winery started in 1924 in an old barn north of Manteca into one of the nation’s largest wineries — passed away Sunday. He was 84.
Delicato Family Vineyards was ranked as the seventh largest winery in the United States in 2016 by Wine Business Magazine based on 9.2 million cases sold. DFV now sells nearly 10 million cases of wine annually. It is one of five of the seven largest wineries in the country that have the bulk of their operations based in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties. The others are E & J Gallo, The Wine group, Trinchero Family Estates, and Bronco Wine Company.
Delicato is among the largest private sector employers in the Manteca area with 338 year-round workers at its main winery built on the same land that Gaspare Indelicato planted his first grapes and built the barn that housed the initial winery operation three miles north of Manteca at French Camp Road and Highway 99. They have another 350 plus seasonal employees.
Vince and his brothers — Frank who passed away in 2012 and Anthony who passed away in 2003 — grew up working in the family owned business founded by their father, who immigrated to America in 1912 along with uncle Sebastiano Luppino.
The three brothers took over the winery in 1960.
The siblings undertook two major expansions and established Delicato as a “winemaker’s winemaker.” By 2012, Delicato Family Vineyards served the top 30 largest premium wine companies. Delicato’s services include exclusive brand development, new product development, buyers own label custom blends, and overseas packaging services.
They purchased the fabled San Bernabe Vineyards in Monterrey County that was described at the time it was purchased in 1988 by grape experts as the world’s most diverse and largest single-owned vineyard stretching for 9 miles. In 1988 there were 110 distinct vineyard blocks farmed individually featuring 20 different grape varietals that flourished in a series of micro climates that started with near sea-level, often fog-enshrouded vineyards and work their way up hills to elevations gaining just under 2,000 feet.
The Indelicato brothers also established the Clay Station Vineyards, some 1,250 acres on the edge of the San Joaquin Valley in the Sierra foothills east of Lodi. The rich, red clay with stone “cobbles” is considered ideal for drainage critical to sweetening the fruit. There are six varietals in the classic Mediterranean climate featuring sunny dry summers and cooling nighttime breezes from the Delta.
The third generation — the sons and daughters of the three brothers now run the winery. They are credited with cementing DFV’s world-class wine reputation, developing the branded wine business that includes such labels as Gnarly head, Noble Vines, Bota Box, and Z. Alexander Brown. They also purchased the Black Stallion Estate Winery in Napa Valley in 2010.
DFV is gearing up for a major expansion that will take place over the next 15 years. The firm currently has 249,801 square feet on 64.08 acres. They plan on building 770,000 square feet of new buildings and facilities and add 250 wine storage tanks
Delicato also leases a 533,000-square-foot warehouse in Manteca’s Spreckels Park located between Ford Motor Company’s Small Parts Distribution Center and Lineage Refrigeration Services.
Before his passing, Vince served as Chairman of the Board, advising his nephews Chris Indelicato, president and CEO and Jay Indelicato, COO, on the company strategy.
“My Uncle Vince has guided the family and Delicato Family Vineyards into the company it is today,” commented Chris Indelicato, President and CEO of Delicato Family Vineyards. “We will miss his unparalleled experience, gentle spirit, and fierce independence.”
Vince is survived by his children Marie Mathews and husband Kim, Robert Indelicato and wife Leslie; and grandchildren Stephen Mathews, Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato, Katie Bloudoff-Indelicato, and Kyle Bloudoff-Indelicato. He enjoyed bowling, racquetball, discussing politics and drinking coffee with his friends.
Vince graduated from Manteca schools as well as the University of California at Berkeley in 1955. He spent his life working for the company alongside Dorothy, his wife of 62 years, who passed away in May of this year.
He was born at San Joaquin County Hospital on Sept. 2, 1933 to Gaspare and Caterina Indelicato.
Services are set for Friday, Dec. 22, at Calvary Community Church, 815 W. Lathrop Road, Manteca.