During planning and construction of their new winery at the Trione’s Alexander Valley Home Ranch, three generations of the family gave thoughtful consideration to preserving the 97-year-old landmark stone building. Built in 1908 as Nervo winery, the commanding structure reveals Sonoma County’s winemaking history rooted in Italian American traditions.
Frank Nervo Sr. commissioned the winery two years after the San Francisco earthquake devastated homes and commercial structures as far north as Santa Rosa and Alexander Valley. Nervo hired contractor and stone mason Peter Moroni, whose family immigrated to California from Italian villages near the Carrara quarry where Michaelangelo acquired his marble.
Moroni used large basalt blocks mined from nearby Annadel quarry and lumber cut and hewn from Oregon forests. Mindful of the recent quake and the power of Mother Nature, Moroni developed a unique, reinforced design. As the building began to rise and the massive second floor joists were hoisted into place, he embedded a heavy linked chain into the outside walls.
Nervo installed contemporary winemaking equipment. A 30-horsepower locomotive-size steam boiler ran the must pump and wine press; a donkey engine powered various sized steel wheels driving leather belts to feed grapes to the crusher. Second floor fermenters gravity-fed ground floor storage tanks secured on a concrete floor, an innovation at a time when dirt floors were common.
Newspaper accounts from 1908 laud the newly built structure as a symbol of the vitality and conviction pioneering families had for the future of Sonoma County agriculture and wine. After a century of use, the Old Stone Building retains that original belief and foresight.
Now a beautifully restored two-story hospitality center surrounded by sweeping views of Alexander Valley, the Old Stone Building accommodates the winery’s special events and Trione wine club gatherings. Enhanced by a beautifully planted courtyard with cascading water fountain, it is open for arranged tours that provide historical perspective and ample room for personal inspiration. The venue is also available for weddings and gatherings up to 250 people.