Winemaking runs in deep in Alissa's family's roots. William Cruess, Alissa's great uncle, was a food scientist at UC Berkeley during prohibition. Near the end of 1933, he was charged with the daunting task of restoring wine in California after the repeal of Prohibition. His beautiful wife and artist, Marie Cruess, came with him to establish what is now regarded as the nation's premier university for growing grapes and wine, the Viticulture & Eonology Department at UC Davis.
Upon searching through old black-and-white photos of Professor Cruess and his wife Marie, we found some real treasures. There are photos of William and Marie in Cairo, camelback in the 1930s with the great pyramids in the background. William, in suit and tie, teaching winemaking to UC students. Dozens of camping photos from deep in the Sierra backcountry with a string of freshly caught trout and a canvas tent in the background. And it is Marie's acclaimed artwork that hangs on our walls, and serves as the inspiration for our wine labels.