Stefano Giuseppe Riboli
1921 - 2019
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 sur rounded by family on July 3 and went to be with our Lord at the age of 97.
Stefano was born in Los Angeles on September 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 Berga mo, 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 center of the Italian community. 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, California. 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 transform into the 2018 “American Winery of the Year”, by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
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. And 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 and the city 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/opens in a new window or for assistance call 323-225-8119opens in a new window.