From Penniless Immigrant to Wine King: Secondo Guasti

Nov 06, 2017 567

BY: Marianna Gatto

Long before Napa became California’s wine center, Secondo Guasti, an immigrant from Piedmont, Italy, established himself as the state’s wine king. Guasti’s vineyard and town, located approximately 40 miles east of Los Angeles, was synonymous with Southern California wine, and served as a catalyst for Italian chain migration.

In search of a better life, Secondo Guasti immigrated to Panama at age 21. After stints in Mexico, San Francisco and Arizona, Guasti arrived in Los Angeles in 1883 with $1 in his pocket. He found work as a cook at a hotel in downtown Los Angeles, which was owned by an Italian pioneer family, married a proprietor’s daughter, and established a modest winery.

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