Eugenio Pio "Pete" Seghesio, 85, died peacefully surrounded by his family at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital on Thursday, September 30. He was a pioneer in Sonoma County's wine industry, in a career spanning more than 60 years. Born on April 27, 1919, Pete was the youngest and last surviving child of Italian immigrants Angela and Eduardo Seghesio, founders of Seghesio Family Vineyards and Winery. As the youngest member of the second generation of Seghesios, he was the patriarch of the family and was the last remaining link between its founders and subsequent generations. He was born at the family home at the Home Ranch in Alexander Valley, making him a native of Chianti. Born in the same year that Prohibition was enacted, his life was marked by the evolution and changes of California's wine industry. A graduate of Geyserville's Washington Grammar School and Cloverdale's High School, he attended the College of Agriculture at the University of California at Davis where he graduated in 1941 and he was a devoted and proud member of the Alpha Gamma Rho agricultural fraternity. It was also at UC Davis that he was honored to study under two world-renowned enologists - Dr. Maynard Amerine and Andre Tchelistcheff, from Beaulieu Vineyards. He was a partner in his family's wine business, Seghesio Vineyards and Winery, since 1941, and served as president of the winery from 1965 until 1995. Eugene was also active in the Wine Institute, serving as a director from 1948 until 1972 and liked to say that he began and ended his career with the Wine Institute at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. His last attendance at Wine Institute was a celebration of the Repeal of Prohibition February 20, 2003 with fellow old-timers in the industry. His life was devoted to his family and the wine industry he so loved, with the exception of the three years spent in service with the 91st Division in World War II. Drafted into the Army during the war, his division trained in Oregon before being shipped out to North Africa and to 18 months of active combat duty as a Sergeant on the front in Italy. For his outstanding performance in combat near Selvatelle, Italy, he was awarded a commendation for Meritorious Service. Like many World War II veterans, he believed there was no higher honor than serving one's country when called. In 1945, after the war, he returned to his beloved Chianti where he joined his brothers Arthur and Frank and sister Inez in the family business. His primary responsibility became the sale of Seghesio wine in bulk and from the mid-1940s until the early 1970s, Pete sold to the big names in California at the time, among them Gallo, Petri, Paul Masson, Italian Swiss and Roma winery. He later presided over the changes in the market from the end of the bulk wine era to the rise of the production of bottled varietal wines. With the advent of the third and fourth generations of the Seghesio family entering the family business, Pete was very proud of the efforts of his children and nephews to continue the tradition begun by his parents. He will be fondly remembered for the many Italian-American traditions he so cherished in his life and celebrated so often with his family and friends: trout fishing mountain streams in the spring, trying to grow the biggest onions of the Geyserville community, deer hunting in the late summer, sausage making and mushroom hunting after the harvest, and making homemade ravioli and taglierini for the holidays and other special days of the year. His life was personified by service to his country, love of the wine industry and devotion to his family. He will also be remembered for his strong work ethic (a characteristic of his father Eduardo) and his great love of the wine business (inherited from his mother Angela). He had a deep respect for the land and for sharing the fruits of the land; nothing exhibited this more than the pride he took in the wine the family produced from the vineyards they had planted. The wines he so loved making conveyed his deep-rooted sense of place - a sense of knowing where his roots were and or which he was made. He is survived by his wife Rachel Ann Passalacqua Seghesio; his son E. Peter Seghesio and daughter-in-law Cathy Lynn Seghesio; daughter Amy Camille Seghesio; grandsons Joseph Clement Seghesio and William Joseph Seghesio; nephews Ray and Ed Seghesio and their entire families. Services were held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Asti on Tuesday, October 5, 2004, which was followed by burial and reception at Seghesio Family Vineyards and Winery in Healdsburg. A rosary vigil was also held on Monday, October 4 in Cat Fred Young and Company in Cloverdale. Memorial donations in Pete's name to St. John's School and the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity at University of California at Davis would be appreciated.

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