Ron Piazza has been in the hospitality industry his entire adult life. A successful restaurateur for many decades, he is a gardener at heart – he likes to plant the seeds, grow something, and see the results. Every once in a while, he takes a step back, brushes the dirt off his jeans, and admires what he has built. “We planted that,” he thinks to himself, and that is all the reward he needs.
Ron and his wife Nancy have roots in Santa Barbara County and the Santa Ynez Valley soil that go back decades. Through the influence of family, friends, and winemakers, Ron and Nancy personally planted what became a small, family vineyard within sight of the region’s founding Sanford & Benedict vineyard. This was more than a decade before the Sta. Rita Hills AVA was founded. It led to a search for a vineyard site where Ron and Nancy could build something. In partnership with a group of cloistered, Carmelite nuns, Ron and Nancy founded Mt. Carmel Vineyard and began supplying some of the finest pinot noir and chardonnay fruit in the state to a small group of Santa Barbara’s most esteemed winemakers. Ron and Nancy are the long-time proprietors of Mt. Carmel Vineyard and founding partners of Mail Road Wines.
Ron hails from a large Italian family in Queens, New York where his Grandfather Dominic handed down a passion for life. Wine was at every dinner and so was his grandfather’s stories and jokes and subtle wisdom. Inspired by his Italian heritage and his grandfather, Ron believes the kitchen is the center of every home and every dinner includes a bottle of wine. Ron honors his heritage and his family with the founding of Bella Vista Vineyard and Piazza Family Wines.
With views of Stolpman Vineyard and Beckmen’s La Purisma Vineyard, the grapes at Bella Vista are in good company. Ron and Nancy’s home is surrounded by grapevines, and the production facility is just a short walk down a dirt path.
Ron and Nancy are doing everything the right way, from organic farming to natural winemaking and sustainable business practices, they have planted the seeds and are growing a legacy winery for their five children and multiple grandchildren. They’re a family working together, making wine meant to be shared.