Tuesday, August 14, 2007
BOB SOUZA DISCOVERS HIGH ITALIAN WINE MAKING HERITAGE
Notre Dame High School
Class of 1957
Bob Souza graduated from Notre Dame High School in 1957. He worked for many years in the insurance business in the San Fernando Valley. In 1990, he and his wife Patty left the city and their work as insurance brokers to "find a simpler life." According to the Souza Family Vinyard's website, "They settled in Cummings Valley, a beautiful agricultural area in Tehachapi, California, which is called "The Land of Four Seasons", as it has an altitude of 4000 feet. At the summit of the Tehachapi Mountains, this community is considered the "best kept secret in California".
"The Souzas bought a real "Cinderella" story, the Elijah Stowell Estate, an 1888 Victorian home and barns on 60 acres overlooking the valley. After years of hard work, the industrious Souzas beautifully restored the lovely historic property which they call the 'Souza Ranch'. The ranch and gardens have hosted many charitable events, including "Cowboy Poetry" gatherings, barn dances, bar-b-ques and weddings."
" Bob and Patty had always wanted to honor the agricultural legacy of the founding Stowell family. With the Souza family's Italian heritage, they were mindful that "the growing of grapes and vines is the oldest, recorded agriculture in human history."
So the Souzas decided to plant a vineyard, although wine growing had not been successfully accomplished in Tehachapi. After much study, however, they determined that the warm, breezy days, cool evenings and organic soil of the Cummings Valley made this the perfect climate for the Primitivo Zinfandel to flourish.
Over the years, the Souza Vineyard became a "family affair," and friends joined in to help nurture, prune and cultivate the tender plants by hand. The Souzas feel honored to be the first commercial vineyard in an historic agricultural valley.
Not satisfied to settle into an easier lifestyle, Patty and Bob plan to build a bed and breakfast, tasting room and gift shop."