Frank (SRJC, Class of 1960) and Ronita Sundin Egger (Montgomery High School, Class of 1959) stand at the Manor bus stop in Fairfax, CA. This old “train” station sign was restored and placed on the Manor bus stop by the Town during the first of Frank’s 7 terms as mayor of Fairfax. Note the sign’s language, “To Cazadero 65.53 miles and to San Francisco 18.72 miles”.
The Egger family traveled from San Francisco by ferry to Sausalito and then by train up through Marin via Fairfax. The North Western Pacific line stopped at Manor Station to allow passengers to get off and buy refreshments at the Manor Grocery on its way to Cazadero (Via Pt Reyes Station up along Tomales Bay to Sonoma County to Occidental, Monte Rio, Duncans Mills and into Cazadero).
Ninety years later, Frank and Ronita live in Fairfax and own the Cazadero Winery. The winery’s home office is located in Fairfax and the winery facility where Cazadero Wine is produced in Healdsburg.
Cazadero is where the Egger family summered, and planted the Egger family vineyard in the twenties. The Egger family ranch in Cazadero is long gone, lost by the family at the end of the Depression. Five generations of Eggers summered in Cazadero with a number of them staying at the old Egger cabin on Bei Road.
Our Family-historic Cazadero wine grape growing roots from the 20s.
Eugene Egger, grandfather of Cazadero Winery Founder, Frank Egger, immigrated to Bernal Heights in San Francisco from Bozen, South Tyrol, now Bolzano, Northern Italy at the turn of the century. Frank’s grandmother Anna’s family, from Merano, Alto Adige, grew grapes in the old country. The Egger family first planted a vineyard on their Cazadero property up on Blue Jay in the Ward Creek drainage in the twenties. Unfortunately, the Egger family lost its Cazadero ranch during the Great Depression.
The Bei Family grows its grapes about 1&1/2 miles South, as the crow flies, from the original Egger vineyard.
Andrew Bei, John Bei’s grandfather, immigrated from Tuscany, Italy after the turn of the century and purchased the original Bei Ranch in Cazadero in the 1920s and planted a small vineyard at the end of Bei Road. Grandson John planted the “new” vineyard in 1990 on a north/south facing ridge where the Bei Family has farmed for 90 years. The hand selected grapes for our award winning vintages are grown by John Bei (unfortunately John left this world in June this year-1940-2013-way too early. Ciao, Ciao Johnny Bei, RIP.). The “off the grid” family ranch and small but exquisite ridgetop vineyard lies half way between Cazadero and Russian Gulch. The Bei Ranch Vineyard sits at 1,600 foot elevation with the Pole Mountain Fire Lookout in the background.
Our new winemaker is Pat Knittle, a woman who pays close attention to details, is hands on and has great knowledge of coastal influences on Sonoma’s West County vineyards. The wines are produced with natural yeast and minimal intervention at Merriam Vineyards on Los Amigos Road, Healdsburg. .
The train that took the Egger family from the Sausalito Ferry Terminal, thru Fairfax and West Marin to Cazadero in the early 1900s.
L to R.Unidentified neighbor, Frank Egger's aunt, Katherine Egger, uncle Gene Egger and grandfather Eugene Egger. Cira 1922.
Frank and Ronita Egger – Old Manor Train Station in Fairfax
Original Egger Family Vineyard, Blue Jay Hill, Cazadero CA Circa -1922