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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

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Gabriele Rausse


Gabriele Rausse came to Virginia in 1976 at the behest of his fellow countryman, Gianni Zonin, who needed a winemaker for his newest venture, Barboursville Vineyards. After a handful of years there, Gabriele left Baboursville to help establish Simeon Vineyards (currently Jefferson Vineyards), just a stone’s throw from Monticello. In 1984, while working at Simeon, he grafted the vines that were used to resurrect Thomas Jefferson’s beloved vineyard. In 1995 he pursued an opportunity to work at Monticello as the estate’s Assistant Director of Gardens and Grounds.

Gabriele could not shake his passion for winemaking, however, so in 1997 he established a winery of his own, Gabriele Rausse Winery. Eventually, he was given the opportunity to make wine from the grapes grown at Monticello, a project that he carried out with historical accuracy. Today, Gabriele continues to make wine, both for himself and, when the harvest is good, for Monticello. He’s still consulting, too. For an Italian who never intended to remain in Virginia, he feet are firmly planted in Southern soil.

Date of interview:

Amy C. Evans

Amy C. Evans

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


Alex Raij Txikito

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