Malvasia Del Fiore was founded by Mike Filice, as a way to share the joy he experienced learning to grow grapes and make wines during a formative, bygone era in the California viticulture. This is the wine he made and enjoyed with his grandparents.
Mike’s grandfather, Bruno Filice, emigrated from Italy to California’s Santa Clara Valley, a rustic farming community. Bruno planted grapes and with his own hands built a brick wine cellar, San Martin Winery, in Gilroy, near the Monterey County line. Here, many family members learned to grow grapes and make wine. The building still stands.
Bruno taught his sons to make wine, who then taught their sons. From the age of nine Mike worked alongside his relatives and their southern Mediterranean crew in the vineyards surrounding the family house west of Gilroy. He attended Santa Clara University, then University of California, Davis.
In the 1950’s’ and 60’s California vintners were just getting to know their land. It was a time of hard work, creativity and neighborliness. As the market became dominated by just a few varieties like Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, a great selection of distinctive, small production wines were lost. Like so many other vintners, the Filices switched to the more popular varieties. But they also continued making a small amount of Malvasia using Bruno’s very old techniques and sold the wine at the tasting room.
Through the years Mike and many family members have remained California winegrowers, active in many parts of the state. The early memories continue to inspire Mike.
“I entered into the business in the early sixties, and mainly under the tutelage of a brilliant chemist / wine maker by the name of Mike Bo I learned how to love the business of making wine, and grow and make fine wines. Both my father and Mike Bo instilled in me the love for the grape and anything to do with wine that has lasted to this present day.”