Anthony Riboli tastes wine for a living.
But Riboli’s job responsibilities involve a lot more than that.
As one of the winemakers for San Antonio Winery and Riboli Family Wine Estates — the family business — he not only oversees the vineyards but is also involved in day-to-day operations such as bottling and marketing.
“I think people assume that you sit around and drink all day. I wish I could,” he says. “I love what I do, I do enjoy what I do but I went to school and it’s never easy.”
Riboli said what he tastes throughout the day, which he spits out, is in an effort to make better quality wine.
Riboli, who lives in Pasadena, is the first family member to receive a formal degree in winemaking and grape growing from UC Davis where he received his master’s of science in viticulture.
Wine enthusiasts will have an opportunity to ask Riboli questions when he visits San Antonio Winery in Ontario on Saturday for its first “meet the winemaker” event from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
“Come say ‘hi’ and ask any questions about wine. If you’ve wondered how wine is made then let’s talk, I’m happy to answer questions,” he said.
It’s a rare opportunity for people to meet Riboli since he splits his time between the family business in Los Angeles and the vineyards up north.
Last year marked the winery’s 95th anniversary and in recent years the winery has expanded its Los Angeles location, added a store and tasting room in Paso Robles where it has its vineyards.
It was founded in 1917 by Santo Cambianica. In 1934, Santo called on his nephew, Stefano Riboli who lived in Italy, to join the family business. While Riboli and his wife, Maddelena, have now retired, the winery continues to be a family-owned and operated business. The couple’s three children, Santo, Cathy, Steve and Santo’s son, Anthony, are now at the helm.
The Riboli family produces other selections too, including Syrahs, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnays as well as Stella Rosa. There are seven Stella Rosa flavors and an additional five champagne flavors.
Initially Riboli had no desire to work in the family business. In fact, he was on his way to medical school when he decided to shift gears. Riboli earned a degree in biology when he decided to pursue the family business, receiving his degree in viticulture.
Riboli said he has been thankful that his family has always been receptive to any changes or improvements he has suggested since joining the business.
Winery spokesman Kevin Franke said Saturday’s event will be informal and customers will be able to ask any questions from wine pairings to this year’s harvest.
“We have a lot of customers who are curious and ask us all the time about wines,” Franke said. “This closes that loop for customers.”