The Franzia Wine Family




It was likely the arrival of irrigation-district water that caused Giuseppe to build a house on the






In 1850, the Italian Peninsula was a hodge-podge of states belonging to the Roman Catholic Church, o



The Franzias quickly started the large family that eventually reached eight children. Their first child, Frank Antonio Franzia, was born April 26, 1901, in the Morada District. Births weren’t yet recorded by San Joaquin County; so Frank would later obtain a delayed certificate of birth. The firstborn was taken to St. Mary’s of the Assumption Church on Washington Street in Stockton and baptized. Serving as godparents were Antonio and Colomba Carrara.

The following year, 1902, a daughter, Mary Caterina, was born on July 15. Her baptism awaited the expected arrival of another family member. In September, Giuseppe made another trip to San Francisco–to meet his twenty-one-year-old brother, Giovanni Battista [aka Giobatta] Franzia. Giuseppe had probably saved up the money to bring his brother to the United States, as was the custom. Giovanni had arrived at Ellis Island on August 28, 1902 on the ship Liguria.

He was accompanied by a friend, Antonio Vinazzo, also twenty-one, as they boarded the ship in Genova. They stated their destinations as San Francisco. After connecting in San Francisco, the Franzia brothers made the boat trip to San Joaquin County. They began farming together as partners. The baptism of the infant, Mary, was performed at St. Mary’s Church soon after Giovanni’s arrival. He was the godfather; and Maria Carrara, Teresa’s thirteen-year-old half-sister, was the godmother.

In 1904 a son, John Franzia, was born on April 15. Serving as godparents to John at his baptism at St. Mary’s were James and Rose Cademartori, who also farmed in La Maccia. It is likely that John was named for his uncle, Giovanni Battista Franzia.

On July 27 of that year, when John was three months old, a great family tragedy occurred. Teresa was preparing to scrub the wooden floor of the home and was heating a pot of lye water on a wood stove. A towel, serving as a pot holder, was wrapped through the handle. The toddler, Mary, saw the end of the towel hanging down and pulled on it, dumping the pot of hot, caustic solution upon her. She was severely burned. Death was likely not immediate, and the child no doubt suffered a great deal before she died. There would have been a burial, probably in Stockton’s San Joaquin Catholic Cemetery. Later her body would be moved to St. John’s Cemetery, adjacent to St. Patrick’s Church between Escalon and Manteca in the southern part of San County, where she is encrypted with her parents.

On February 2, 1906, another son, Louie Thomas Franzia, was born. San Joaquin County had begun recording births; so Louie’s birth was recorded, but St. Mary’s of the Assumption Church has no record of his baptism there. Two months later, April 18, 1906, the great earthquake and fire destroyed San Francisco, including the church in which Giuseppe and Teresa had married; and it also destroyed the tough Barbary Coast. Teresa’s father, stepmother, and sisters were living there at the time. In September, the city was beginning to rebuild when Colomba Carrara, Teresa’s stepmother, died. She was buried in the Italian Cemetery at Colma. Many northern Italians left the destroyed city and joined the growing colony of compatriots in the Stockton area.

Teresa’s father, Antonio Carrara, remained in the ruined city. In the 1910 Census, Antonio was listed as the head of household in San Francisco, age 51. Living with him was his youngest daughter, Angela Carrara Montani, 20, and her husband, Luigi Montani, 27, born Italy, immigrated 1906.

There were no children yet. Luigi, born 14 April 1883, in Italy, would die at age 100 on December 8, 1983, in Stanislaus County, California. Angelina Carrara Montani died in the 1920’s. Antoinette Montani Quaccia [1913-1998], youngest child of Luigi and Angelina Carrara Montani, was married to Fernando Quaccia [1913-2007], who was the wine-maker for the Franzia Brothers Winery beginning in the 1940’s. Luigi [aka Louis] and Angelina Montani had two other childen: Paul Montani [1910-1920’s] and Ernestine Montani Amendola [1911-1987].

The 1920 Census shows Antonio Carrara, age 60, living with his daughter, Mary Carrara Rosina, 31; and her husband, Clemente Rosina, 38, born Italy, immigrated 1906; and grandchildren Colombina Zullo, 10, Lena Zullo, 9, and Peter Rosina, 7/12. Mary [Maria] had been married about 1908 to Salvatore Zullo, born about 1879 in Italy; he died in 1911. She had married Rosina about 1917. In 1930 Antonio was listed as the head of household, age 72, living with his again-widowed daughter, Mary Rosina, and grandchildren, Colombina Zullo, 31; Lena Zullo, 29; and Peter Rosina, 10. Antonio died in 1938 at eighty years of age. He, his second wife Colomba, his daughter Mary Carrara Zullo Rosina [1888-1970][Teresa Franzia’s sister] and grandson Peter Rosina [1919-1981] are all buried at the Italian Cemetery.

By 1906, with an orchard planted on the leased land in La Maccia, Giuseppe and Teresa Franzia had saved enough money to buy land. They purchased eighty acres in the southern part of San Joaquin County, in Dent Township, along what would become Highway 120. The parcel lay between the small towns of Manteca and Escalon. Ripon, to the southeast of Manteca, was even closer.

The Franzia land was not yet serviced by an irrigation district and remained dry. Fallow land in the area was covered with tumbleweeds. Giuseppe probably had to dry farm during those early years. He drove back and forth by farm wagon to work the new land. He and Teresa probably anxiously awaited the arrival of irrigation district water. The South San Joaquin Irrigation District had been formed in 1909 and was at work building irrigation canals in the area. On one occasion, Giovanni told his friend, Giuseppe Lagorio of Stockton, that he hoped that he had not made a mistake by buying the isolated land.

It is likely that electricity had not reached the Franzia farm in those early years. Electric companies balked at extending electricity to rural areas because it was not profitable. In 1934, less than 11% of U.S. farms had electricity. Under Roosevelt’s New Deal, a rural electrification program was instituted. By 1942, nearly 50% of US farms had electricity, and by 1952 almost all US farms had electricity. It is unlikely that electricity came to the Franzia farm before 1920; that means there could be no electric pumping of water. Irrigation water to irrigate the Franzia vineyard had to have come by association with the irrigation district.

A fourth son, Salvatore J. Franzia, arrived on July 11, 1908. He would always be known as “Sal.” At his baptism, the godparents were Trozo Salvator and Angela Carrara, seventeen. That year Giuseppe brought another of his siblings to the United States. His thirty-four-year-old sister, Camilla Franzia, who had been living in Brazil, embarked at Santos, Brazil, and arrived in New York aboard the Corrientes, June 8. In the 1909-1910 Stockton City-County Directory, Camilla is shown living at 418 S. Hunter Street in the city of Stockton. She was working as a live-in housekeeper for the family of Dr. John B. Granelli. The 1910 Census showed that the household consisted of John B. Granelli, 45; Carlotta Granelli, 38; Adeline Granelli, 11; and Camilla Franzia, 34, housekeeper.

In 1909 Giovanni Battista Franzia journeyed home to Italy to find a wife. Many Italian men working in the United States made trips to Italy for that specific purpose. Giovanni chose as his bride Cándida Carrara, 18, of Vado Ligure, who was likely a cousin of Teresa Carrara Franzia. Candida’s family owned a lime kiln in Vado. The couple boarded the Duca di Genova in the city of Genova. Although they had married in Vado, Candida, following the Italian custom of a married woman maintaining her maiden name, listed herself on the ship’s manifest as Candida Carrara. The two arrived at Ellis Island, January 31, 1910. Their stated residence was Stockton, California. The couple was to have three children: Mary, born October 17, 1911; Frank Franzia, November 9, 1913; and, Caterina, March 10, 1916. The 1910 U.S.

Census shows Giuseppe and Teresa still living in La Maccia, in O’Neal Township. The household consisted of Giuseppe, 39; Teresa, 31; Frankie, 8; John, 6; Louie, 4; and Salvatore, age 1 9/12. Soon after the census-taker visited the Franzia home, Amelia Franzia was born on July 3, 1910. This daughter would one day gain prominence with the Gallo Wine Company; she married Ernest Gallo in 1931 when Ernest was working for his parents, tending and selling the grapes from their vineyards.