Romeo “Meo” Zuech was an Italian-born aerospace engineer who retired from Rockwell International in 1983 and established the Piedra Creek Winery in the Edna Valley in 1984 with his wife Margaret. Meo and Margaret Zuech began as home winemakers. They are Legends for introducing grape varieties from the Alto Adige, Italy region to San Luis Obispo County and Edna Valley. Together they planted Gewürztraminer, Lagrein, Dornfelder, Marzamino, and Teroldego. Margaret and Meo were the first to bring the Lagrein grape to the United States from Meo’s homeland in Bolzano, Italy.
Meo will also be remembered for his legacy in the aerospace industry. He was a specialist in metallurgy and developed six metal alloys used in building multiple NASA space vehicles in the early 1970s and 1980s. The alloys he developed were used in the Apollo 11 Mission and moon landing, and played a key factor in returning the space shuttle back to earth.
Romeo “Meo” Zuech came to America in 1950 as an immigrant from Italy with an American passport, which is an unusual story of acquiring American citizenship. Both of Meo’s parents were American citizens: his mother was born in Sierra Mojada, Mexico (but her birth certificate was processed in El Paso, Texas thereby giving her American citizenship) and his father was born in Frontenac, Kansas. In the early twentieth century, Italians would come to the United States to work and accumulate wealth, then travel back to Italy to purchase land and support the family. Meo’s father lived in America for an extended period and served as an American soldier in WWI.
Meo was born on February 28, 1926, in Bolzano, Italy. He grew up in a close-knit Italian family in Brez, a small community outside of Bolzano with his father and mother, Adolfo and Sophia Zuech, brother Giovanni, and sisters Valeria and Ada. Wine was always a part of family tradition and culture in Italy. As a young boy, Meo’s grandfather would make wine in the family cellar, and at one point, Meo tried to taste wine and fell in a wine vat. His grandfather saved him. Meo enjoyed the outdoors and was an avid hiker and mountain climber and would summit the Alps of Italy as a young man. Meo was also a poet and was inspired by the scenery of Italy and the people he would meet throughout his lifetime.
When World War II began, Italy was invaded by the Germans. In 1943 Meo was inducted into the German army, but one day later defected and became a partisan. The Italian partisans were anti-German and described as guerrilla fighters. He remained a guerrilla fighter until the end of the war.
At the end of the war, in 1945, Meo discovered his father was not well, and he traveled back to Bolzano, Italy to join his family. Meo’s father revealed to him that he was eligible for American citizenship since he was born to parents with U.S. birth certificates. Meo found a job at the Lancia automobile plant in Bolzano, under the tutelage of a metal professor, where he discovered the value of aluminum in the field of metallurgy. He was fascinated with the field and focused on learning everything he could about metals.
In 1945, Meo’s father died. It was up to Meo to determine if he should become an Italian citizen or go to the U.S. and see what was waiting for him. Meo decided to apply for United States citizenship; it took five years for the paperwork to be processed and for him to claim his citizenship. Meo traveled to New York and made his way to Chicago on March 18, 1950. He settled in the Melrose Park suburb, where he met his wife Margaret DeSerto. In July of 1950, Margaret belonged to a choral group and Meo came and joined the group. Meo had a passion for choral music; he enjoyed singing with others and had been a part of a men’s choir in Italy. Margaret began to teach English to Meo, and Meo shared the language of Italian with Margaret. They fell in love and were married on June 20, 1953. California was the “land of opportunity” in the 1950s with a growing automobile and aerospace industry. Meo and Margaret began to consider where to start their married life and careers.
The Zuechs packed all their possessions and took off on a road trip to the West Coast in 1953. Their goal was to drive to Portland and have Meo apply for a job with Boeing, but when they reached the Pacific Ocean, they stopped in Santa Monica and decided to stay in California. This was the start of an exciting time in the development of light metals in the post-war era in California. Meo had a job within days at North American Aviation due to his experience in metal engineering and work with aluminum at the Lancia automoblie plant in Italy. Meo was hired as an engineer and immediately started working on alloys. In just three years, Meo had developed his first alloy. In 1957 North American Aviation presented him a plaque including a bar and broken hammer, which celebrated the new aluminum alloy he developed, showing its strength would break a hammer.
On April 24, 1954, Margeret and Meo had twin girls, Maria and Sofia.
The Zuech family moved to Woodland Hills 1956. Meo transferred to the Rocketdyne Divsion of North American Aviation. The metals Meo used to develop patents consisted of a combination of Titanium, Aluminum, Beryllium, and Silver. These metals were used in all the NASA space missions with Rocketdyne. When astronauts came to examine the spacecraft and to visit the staff at Rocketdyne, they were introduced to Meo. One astronaut asked, “How do you go about developing these metals?” Meo answered, “A little of this, a little of that, it’s like making minestrone”.
Meo often traveled to Italy to visit his friends and family in Bolzano. In 1965 Meo hosted several professors from UC Davis showing them the vineyards and varietals near his Italian home. Meo asked the professors if they could take cuttings of grapevines back to the United States and plant them at the University. The professors took clippings of Teroldego, Lagrien, and Marzimino vines and planted them at the experimental vineyard at UC Davis. A few years later, the team at UC Davis sent ten clippings of each of the three varieties to Meo which he planted in the backyard of their home in Woodland Hills.
In 1969, when the family moved to their new home in the Conejo Valley/Westlake Village area, Meo and Margaret also took clippings from these vines and established a small vineyard at their new home. These were the first varieties of Teroldego, Lagrien, and Marzimino planted in Southern California.
One of Meo’s most memorable achievements as an aerospace engineer was the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. It was Meo’s alloys that were key to getting the Apollo crew back to earth safely. Margaret recalled the Apollo 11 mission to the moon on July 16, 1969. “The day Apollo landed on the moon, we were at a party with several other engineers. The engineers could not bear to watch the TV and the moon landing, so they sent me in to watch it. Once the astronauts landed, I ran outside and told them it was a success and that Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins had safely landed. They were ecstatic. The engineers picked up Meo and threw him in the pool, then they all jumped in after him.”
In the 1970s, Meo’s longtime friend and co-worker Cal Moeller, who also worked as a metallurgical engineer, specializing in failure analysis of space engines for Rocketdyne, introduced Meo to home winemaking. Moeller introduced Meo to John Daume (dah-MAY), who owned a homemaking shop on Ventura Blvd. This store became the center of home winemaking with classes, consultation, and supplies available to everyone. Meo had the small vineyard of Italian varieties he had planted at his home in Westlake Village. He became a winemaker in 1972, making wine at home with Margaret.
John Daume was instrumental in helping home winemakers establish their own wineries in the early 1970s. He offered winemaking seminars. His store in Woodland Hills specialized in winemaking equipment, sold winemaking supplies, held wine-tasting competitions, and sourced grapes from San Luis Obispo County for his customers in The Home Beer Wine Cheese Making Shop. John’s customers were encouraged to join The Cellarmasters of Los Angeles Home Winemaking Club which included monthly wine tastings, lectures, and Zinfandel Wine competitions.
The first time the Zuech’s made Zinfandel, they relied on John Daume; John would bring the grapes down from San Luis Obispo County, and home winemakers would purchase the harvested fruit from John. John had all the equipment needed to help with the winemaking process and would crush the fruit in the back of his store.
When Margaret and Meo decided to set up a winemaking operation in their Southern California home in Westlake, Meo commandeered the laundry room and created his first winery. Meo crushed, processed, and fermented the grapes in the laundry room. Meo often had to travel for business, so Margaret became the assistant winemaker, punching down the wines and completing the chemistry and tartraiting of the wines. She learned the process of winemaking, and together they realized they made a great team and could do the winemaking by themselves. Meo invested in a wine press and additional winemaking equipment. He decided to make Pinot Noir and searched for a source. He began purchasing Pinot Noir grapes from long-time friend and fellow aerospace engineer Andy MacGregor, who had recently planted grapes in the Edna Valley.
Andy, too, had worked in the aerospace industry. He had bought land in the Edna Valley in the early 1970s after retiring from long stints at both Rocketdyne and General Electric. He spent his career as an aerospace engineer and was part of the Jet Propulsion Pump team designing jet and rocket engines on such projects as the Flying Wing and the B-1 Bomber. Most notably, he was part of the team that designed a jet propulsion pump used to fly the Mercury and Saturn rockets to the moon. In 1972 he left the corporate life behind to pursue an interest in grape growing and winemaking. He bought 11 acres in Edna Valley and proceeded to plant Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Tending to the vineyards was all that Andy desired to do. He would leave it to his daughter, Cathy, to pursue the winemaking business.
Andy, Meo, and Margaret developed a friendship, sharing information and tasting wines together. Andy thought Meo’s wine was so good that he presented it to Ann Nobel, Professor and Sensory Scientist/Flavor Chemist in the Viticulture and Enology Department at UC Davis. Ann Nobel immediately rated Meo’s wine a 10! When Andy relayed this information to Meo and Margaret, they decided to become commercial winemakers. They continued to make wine at their home in Southern California until 1983 when Meo retired from the aerospace industry.
Andy MacGregor was one of three families to establish the first plantings of Chardonnay grapes in the Edna Valley. The grapes were planted in three different blocks in 1974. The Chardonnay clone Andy planted was the historical Wente clone planted on its own rootstock. Today, it is one of the oldest commercially producing Chardonnay vineyard in the Edna Valley. The old vine Chardonnay provides intensely concentrated flavors due to its small yield and deep root system.
Andy had also grafted several rows of Teroldego and Lagrine varieties from clippings from Meo and Margaret’s vineyard in Westlake Village. The Lagrein and Teroldego varieties were imported to America by Meo in partnership with UC Davis, as described above, from the Alto Adige region, which includes the Trento and Bolzano areas of Italy.
In 1980 Meo and Margaret purchased land off of Broad Street and Price Canyon Road (now Highway 227) from Andy MacGregor and planted a vineyard on the hillside in Gewürztraminer. Meo’s original plan was to build a winery and production facility at the bottom of the hill, planted with Gewürztraminer vines. Meo developed plans for the winery and production facility. However, when Meo and Margaret looked at the economics of building a winery, they realized that they had another important priority – visiting Meo’s family annually in Italy. After some serious thought, Meo decided against building his own winery and backed out of the negotiated agreement. He instead agreed to lease a portion of Andy MacGregor’s land in the northeast section of the Edna Valley but waited until he retired in 1983 to move the the Edna Valley.
Andy MacGregor and Meo Zuech established a unique and historic partnership with a lease agreement that benefited both families. Andy offered Meo and Margaret the opportunity to live on his land and source fruit for their winemaking. Margaret kept the books for Andy’s vineyard business and Meo managed Andy’s vineyards. Meo helped Andy with his scientific experiments to learn more about growing the Chardonnay grape in the Edna Valley.
Meo and Margaret developed a new business plan. The Zuech’s decided to work with Andy to pursue establishing an experimental winery, which would be the first of its type in the region for scientific study in viticulture. Andy wrote numerous research papers and developed procedures to be tested in the vineyard. But, in spite of the research and the need for viticultural information in the Edna Valley, Andy, Meo, and Margaret were disappointed to learn that it was not possible to develop an experimental winery unless there was a university nearby to partner with. At the time, Cal Poly had not yet established its Enology program. The closest university at that time with a Viticulture and Enology Program was UC Davis, over 250 miles away.
Meo had become familiar with grapes from San Luis Obispo County and developed relationships with growers including the Dusi brothers, Dante and Benito, of Paso Robles known for their legendary Zinfandel grapes. After their Zinfandel won several awards, Margaret and Meo drove up to meet Benito and give him a bottle of wine. They immediately started speaking Italian and became close friends. Once the Zuech’s moved to Edna valley, they purchased grapes directly from Benito beginning in 1984. Margaret and Meo were invited to pick their own fruit on the east side of Paso Robles, with Benito Dusi always saving a section of his vineyard for Meo. They became great friends sharing memories of family and the old country. Meo would translate letters from Benito’s family in Italy, and he would also write letters in Italian on behalf of Benito. Both men were very proud of their Italian heritage. Benito always enjoyed selling his fruit to home winemakers.
Meo and Margaret revised their business plan for a third time. They established Piedra Creek Winery in 1984; it became known as the smallest bonded winery in the state of California. In 1985 the first wine, Chardonnay, was produced under the Piedra Creek Winery label, with a total of 500 cases. The name of the winery, Piedra Creek, celebrated the creek that ran through the vineyard, flowing underground to the ocean. The label features a modified version of the village crest from Meo’s home city of Bolzano, Italy.
More and more growers and winemakers established themselves in the Edna Valley. In the early 1990s, the Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande Valley Vintners Association was formed. The Association was created to promote the wineries within the two AVAs, Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande Valley, and to develop a map of the winegrowing region. Margaret Zuech joined the Board of Directors as secretary for the fledgling organization the following year. The small organization, today known as San Luis Obispo Coast Wine Collective, focused their efforts on building awareness of the coastal growing regions of San Luis Obispo. Piedra Creek Winery was one of the original participants in the Association’s first Harvest Celebration, hosted on November 9, 1991, at Edna Valley Vineyard. Margaret served as secretary of the board for 12 years and served as president for the organization for one year.
Throughout the years, Piedra Creek Winery expanded its repertoire of wines to include Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, and Lagrein. In 1999, Margaret and Meo Zuech purchased a property in the Twin Creeks region of Edna Valley they named the San Florian Vineyard. They planted a half-acre of Lagrein, Syrah, Dornfelder, Teraldego, and Pinot Noir vines.
Very seldom did Meo Zuech enter any wine contests, but in the years he did, Piedra Creek took Gold Medals. In 2003, Piedra Creek’s San Floriano, a Meritage of Lagrein and Syrah, won a Gold Medal at the Mid-State Fair. In the 2012 World Wine Championship by the Beverage Testing Institute all three 2010 Piedra Creek win gold medals: San Floriano, 91 points. Pinot Noir, 93 points, and Zinfandel 93 points.
Meo was always innovative. In 2010, Piedra Creek was one of the first brands to change from corks to Stelvin screw tops. This was a shift that many in the restaurant industry did not accept, so the 2010 wines were sold to wine club members and the winery reverted to corks. Other practices Meo implemented include hopper-blended co-fermentation and the use of ultra-small fermentation vessels.
During the 2014 harvest, Meo became ill and was not able to help with the harvest. For many years, the Lagrein grapes had been blended with the Syrah to produce the San Floriano wine, but with the help of Meo’s grandson T.J. de Jony, the decision was made to make a 100% Lagrein wine, which had not been done before. There were eighty-eight cases produced. When the Lagrein was presented to Meo, he tasted the wine and said, “you did it, didn’t you?” The wine was widely celebrated, and from then on Piedra Creek Winery has created a limited production of Estate Bottled Lagrein each year.
There was one catch when the Zuech family tried to bottle the first Lagrein wine in 2016. “The FDA had never heard of Lagrein and didn’t recognize it as a grape variety,” said Margaret Zuech. (Only grape variety names approved by TTB can be used on labels for American wine.) She worked with the FDA over several months to have the grape approved, and it finally was later that year. Margaret Zuech is the reason Lagrein is an approved grape variety in the United States today.
Over several years, T.J. de Jony took over more operations for Piedra Creek and in 2017 was named owner of Piedra Creek Winery. Later that year on July 20, 2017, Meo Zuech passed away. He was honored with a moment of silence during Mid-State Fair and San Luis Obispo County Wine Awards on July 21, 2017.
1870s: Meo’s grandparents, Ruffini and Zuech, left Brez, Italy (Austria at that time) for the United States and Mexico.
1870: Meo’s paternal grandfather migrated to the United States and settled in Frontenac, Kansas. He owned and managed a store in Frontenac. There was coal mining in the area, and Margaret remembers that one of Meo’s relatives developed the first steam shovel used for strip mining.
1875: Meo’s maternal grandparents migrated to the Sierra Mojada in Mexico. His father managed a silver mine.
1877: Meo’s father, Adolfo Zuech, born.
1881: Meo’s mother, Sofia Ruffini, born.
1914: Meo’s father, Adolfo, was an American soldier during World War I. He returned to Italy after World War I.
Meo’s mother’s family was living in Mexico and were silver miners. They fled from Pancho Villa and returned to Italy, to the town of Fondo where they were from originally.
1926: Romeo “Meo” Zuech born in Brez, Italy on February 28.
1933: Margaret born in Chicago, Illinois to parents Maria Carmelle Serritella and Joseph De Serto on August 25.
1943: Meo was inducted into the German Army at age 17. He defects and joins the Italian partisans working as an antifascist guerrilla fighters aiding the Allied against the Germans. Meo was decorated by the British Special Services 15th Army Group and received a citation signed by General Sir Harold Alexander.
1945: Germany surrenders on May 2.
Meo’s father, Adolfo Zuech, dies. As a child of two U.S. born parents, Meo is an American citizen and faced with the decision to remain in Italy or emigrate to the U.S. The process would ultimately take five years.
Meo works at Lancia, an Italian automobile manufacturer, in Bolzano, under the supervision of a professor of metallurgy, where he discovered the importance of aluminum.
1946: Meo graduates from the Technical Institute of Bolzano with a specialization in metallurgy.
Meo and five other men are part of a village choir that travels to Rome and sings in the choir loft in St. Peters’ Cathedral.
Meo applies for entry to the U.S. as an American Citizen.
1950: Meo comes to America, lands in New York, and moves to Chicago. He settles in the Melrose Park area among others from his valley in Italy.
Meo works as a night foreman at National Malleable and Steel Castings Company in Melrose Park, Illinois.
Margaret was a member of a choral group, and Meo joined the group. Margaret taught Meo to speak English.
1953: Margaret and Meo Zuech marry on June 20. That same year they left Melrose Park on a road trip to California and packed everything they owned in the back of their Buick and drove west. Their goal was to drive to Portland and have Meo apply for a job with Boeing, but they stopped in Santa Monica and decided to stay in California.
Meo had a job within days at North American Aviation due to his experience in metal engineering and work with aluminum at the Lancia automoble plant in Italy.
1954: Margaret and Meo’s twin girls, Maria and Sofia, are born in Inglewood, California on April 24.
1956: Meo transfers from North American Aviation to their Rocketdyne Division, and the Zuech family moves to Woodland Hills, California. He works there until 1983.
1961: Meo developes metal alloy at Rocketdyne which is used on test flights for NASA’s Saturn 1 Rocket Missions. The first Saturn 1 Rocket Mission launches on October 27, 1961. Over the next four years, NASA will launch ten missions of the Saturn 1 Rocket, with the last mission launching on July 30, 1965.
1965: Meo hosts several UC Davis professorts at home town in Italy. They took clippings of Teroldego, Lagrien, and Marzimino vines and planted them at the experimental vineyard at UC Davis.
1966: Meo’s alloys are used in NASA’s Skylab Missions with work beginning in 1966. The first Skylab mission launched on May 14, 1973, and the last mission ended February 8, 1974.
1967: Meo develops metal alloy at Rocketdyne, now part of Rockwell International, which is used on NASA’s Apollo Missions. On January 27, 1967, tragedy struck on the launch pad at Cape Kennedy during a preflight test for Apollo 1. The mission was to be the first crewed flight of Apollo, and was scheduled to launch February 21, 1967. Astronauts Virgil Grissom, Edward White, and Roger Chaffee lost their lives when a fire swept through the command module.
1968: Meo’s metal alloy is used on Apollo 8 Mission, from December 21 to 27, 1968, and the first landing of a man on the moon. It is Meo’s alloys that were paramount in bringing the astronauts back safely when re-entering earth’s atmosphere.
1969: Meo and Margaret Zuech move to Conejo Valley/Westlake Village area and plant Lagrein, Teroldego, and Marzimino from clippings provided by UC Davis, originally taken from Meo’s homeland of Bolzano, Italy.
1970s: Cal Moeler, a co-worker at Rocketdyne, introduces Meo to winemaking as a hobby. Meo meets John Daume, owner of the Home Wine Making Shop in Woodland Hills.
1972: Meo begins home winemaking project in Westlake Village and converts laundry room into winemaking production area.
Margaret Zuech learns the art of winemaking: punching down the grapes and tartraiting of the wines, completing the chemistry while Meo was traveling.
1973: Meo joins the Cellarmasters in the San Fernando Valley. This club’s first president was Jim Ahern. The group meets monthly and invites speakers including Joe Heitz from Heitz Cellars and Dave Bennion from Ridge. They hold competitions judged by local and California experts and take seminars at UC Davis. Meo’s homemade wines begin winning awards.
1975: Construction begins on the Columbia Shuttle at North American Aviation. Meo’s metal alloys are used in its development. The orbiter arrives at Kennedy Space Center on March 25, 1979, to prepare for its first launch.
Meo invests in a grape press and additional winemaking equipment.
1978: Meo produces Pinot Noir from grapes sourced from Andy MacGregor’s vineyard in the Edna Valley.
Meo creates the Zuech wine label.
Meo and Margaret Zuech and their home winemaking are featured in the January issue of Sunset Magazine. The article is titled: Six-year achievement…grapes grown, wine made in Westlake Village.
1979: Production begins on NASA’s Challenger Shuttle at Rocketdyne. Meo’s metal alloys are used in the engine production of Challenger Shuttle.
Ann Nobel, Professor and Sensory Scientist/Flavor Chemist in Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis tastes Meo’s 1978 Pinot Noir from Mac Gregor Vineyard and analyzing the Zuech wine and gives it a 10!
1980: Margaret and Meo Zuech purchase land in Edna Valley on the hill near where Sextant Winery is now located from Andy MacGregor. Meo and Margaret plant Gewürztraminer on the property. Meo develops a plan to build gravity-fed winery and shows his plans to Andy MacGregor. Later that year, Meo decides not to build a winemaking facility and backs out of the purchase. Andy offers Zuech’s lifetime lease on quarter-acre property in exchange for working on the property. They agree, but do not move until 1983.
Rockwell International recognizes Meo Zuech as Engineer of the Year.
1981: Columbia shuttle is successfully launched on April 12, 1981, the 20th anniversary of the first human spaceflight (Vostok 1), and returned on April 14, 1981, after orbiting the Earth 36 times, landing on the dry lakebed runway at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
1983: First flight of NASA Challenger Shuttle launches on April 4, 1983. Meo’s metal alloys are used during construction of the Challenger shuttle and in both Challenger Mission’s 6 and 7.
Meo Zuech retires from Rocketdyne after Challenger Mission 7.
Meo and Margaret move to Edna Valley on Orcutt Road property owned by Andy MacGregor. Meo and Margaret put a mobile home on the property (now the Wolff Vineyards Tasting Room). Meo planted a few rows of Teroldego from cuttings from his homeland in Italy acquired from UC Davis. They live on the property for the next sixteen years.
1984: Piedra Creek Winery is bonded, becoming the smallest bonded winery in the Edna Valley, if not the state of California. Meo builds a small garage-type building and purchased most of the big equipment from Italy. The Zuech’s decide to harvest and produce Chardonnay for their first wine. The wine bottle label is a modified version of the crest from Meo’s home of Bolzano, Italy located in the Alto Adige/Trentino Alps of Northeastern Italy.
1984-1992: Meo’s grandson T.J. de Jony spends summers at the winery, learning the craft of winemaking from his grandfather.
1985: First vintage of Piedra Creek Chardonnay wine produced 500 cases. The wine was sold to local restaurants and at the winery.
1990s: Edna Valley Arroyo Grande Valley Vintners and Growers is formed. Piedra Creek Winery becomes a member the second year and Margaret is elected to the Board of Directors as Secretary.
1991: Piedra Creek Winery is one of the first participants of the Harvest Festival, hosted by the Edna Valley Arroyo Grande Valley Vintners and Growers Association.
1992-1996: Grandson T.J. de Jony lives with Meo and Margaret and helps with the family business.
1996: T.J. de Jony graduates from Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School and is accepted to Cal Poly’s viticulture program.
1999: Andy MacGregor sells his vineyards in Edna Valley to Jean-Pierre Wolff of Wolff Vineyards.
Margaret and Meo Zuech leave Andy’s property and purchase two acres from Bob Scheibulhut in the Twin Creeks area of Edna Valley. Grapes had been planted on two tiers of rootstock, Pinot Noir 667 and 777 and one row of Pomar.
The Zuech’s name the vineyard San Floriano and plant it to Lagrein, Syrah, Dornfelder, Teraldego, and Pinot Noir vines.
2000: T.J. de Jony graduates from Cal Poly.
2003: Piedra Creek Winery enters San Floriano blend in the California Mid-State Fair, and it wins a gold medal.
2005: Andy MacGregor dies.
2010: Piedra Creek Winery bottles all wines under Stelvin Screw cap, becoming one of the first producers to use screw caps.
The Zuech’s graft 1 row of Dornfelder, a German grape darker than Lagrein. Cuttings are from the Huber Vineyard in Lompoc.
2012: All three Piedra Creek wines bottled in screw tops are entered in the 2012 World Wine Championship by the Beverage Testing Institute. All three win gold medals: San Floriano, 91 points. Pinot Noir, 93 points, and Zinfandel 93 points.
2014: A 100% varietial Lagrein wine is made at the suggestion of T.J. de Jony, instead of blending the variety with Syrah. Eighty-eight cases are produced, and Meo approves. A limited production of Estate Bottled Lagrein are produced annually from this point.
2016: Margaret Zuech petitions the FDA to approve Lagrein grape variety in the United States. FDA approves Lagrein as a grape variety later that year.
2017: T.J. de Jony becomes owner of Piedra Creek Winery.
Meo Zuech dies July 20, 2017. Meo Zuech is honored during Mid-State Fair and San Luis Obispo County Wine Awards Ceremony with moment of silence on July 21, 2019.
2018: First Rosé of Lagrein is produced and released by Piedra Creek Winery.