Vincent Michael DeDomenico
|Born||September 29, 1915|
San Francisco, California, United States
|Died||October 18, 2007 (aged 92)|
|Education||Graduate, Mission High School, San Francisco, California|
|Employer||Golden Grain Macaroni Company|
|Known for||Inventor of Rice-A-Roni|
Founder of Napa Valley Wine Train
|Children||Steven DeDomenico, Michael DeDomenico, Vicki McManus, Marla Bleecher, Vincent DeDomenico Jr.|
Vincent Michael "Vince" DeDomenico, Sr. (September 29, 1915 – October 18, 2007) was an American entrepreneur, one of the inventors of Rice-A-Roni, and a founder of the Napa Valley Wine Train.
DeDomenico was born in San Francisco, California and raised in the city's Mission District.He graduated from Mission High School, and took some business and accounting classes at Golden Gate University (then known as Golden Gate College). Because his family did not have enough money for a full college education, he began working for the family business, the Gragnano Macaroni Factory, immediately after graduating. When his father died in 1933 he and his brothers took over the business, now called Golden Grain Macaroni Company. He and his brothers invented the dried rice mixture Rice-A-Roni in 1958.
In 1964 DeDomenico bought San Francisco Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, and built the company to the status of a world-famous chocolatier.The DeDomenicos sold both companies to the Quaker Oats Company in 1986 for $300 million.
The next year, Vincent DeDomenico, at the age of 72,joined two other investors, Jack Hussey and Dr. Lee Block, who had purchased the right of way to an 1864 Southern Pacific rail line in Napa Valley, California. DeDomenico and his wife had ridden the Orient Express, and had a vision of creating a comparable level of wine, food, and luxury for rail passengers in California. He took over the project and won approval to use the line for the new tourism venture, the Napa Valley Wine Train, after years of local opposition. The wine train began operation in 1989. It now carries 100,000 passengers per year and is credited in part with initiating the rise of downtown Napa, California as a tourism destination, despite constant litigation over flood control, increased congestion, and other issues that continues as of 2007. On the 10th anniversary of the train's operation, DeDomenico was honored with the Walter E. Disney Railroader Award by the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society for restoring and preserving the vintage train.
In later years DeDomenico operated a ranch in the Sacramento Valley. He went to work until the day that he died, dying quietly in his sleep after a full day at the wine train office.DeDomenico was married to Mildred DeDomenico for over 60 years, until his death. DeDemenico was described by friends and adversaries as a persistent and tough businessman, but quiet and courteous in private. A private family man, DeDomenico enjoyed 1-2 glasses of wine per day.
DeDomenico's wife, Mildred, died on November 26, 2007, five weeks after his death.
Napa County is a county north of San Pablo Bay in the northern portion of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 136,484. The county seat is the City of Napa. Napa County was one of the original counties of California, created in 1850 at the time of statehood. Parts of the county's territory were given to Lake County in 1861.
Napa is the largest city and the county seat of Napa County. It is the principal city of the Napa County Metropolitan Statistical Area, with a population of 76,915 as of the 2010 census. It is the second-largest city in California's Wine Country, after Santa Rosa. Napa was incorporated as a city in 1872.
Wine Country is the region of California, in the northern Bay Area, known worldwide as a premier wine-growing region. The region is famed for its wineries, its cuisine, Michelin star restaurants, boutique hotels, luxury resorts, historic architecture, and culture. Viticulture and wine-making have been practiced in the region since the Spanish missionaries from Mission San Francisco Solano established the first vineyards in 1812.
The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is a United States division of Swiss confectioner Lindt & Sprüngli. The company was founded by and is named after Italian chocolatier Domenico Ghirardelli, who, after working in South America, moved to California. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company was incorporated in 1852, and is the third-oldest chocolate company in the United States, after Baker's Chocolate and Whitman's.
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Mission High School is a public high school in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) San Francisco, California.
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The Napa Valley Wine Train is a privately operated excursion train that runs between Napa and St. Helena, California. Much of the rail line parallels State Route 29 after leaving the City of Napa and passes the towns of Yountville, Rutherford and Oakville. The route passes by many the region's vineyards and wineries located in Napa County.
California wine has a long and continuing history, and in the late twentieth century became recognized as producing some of the world's finest wine. While wine is made in all fifty U.S. states, up to 90% of American wine is produced in the state. California would be the fourth largest producer of wine in the world if it were an independent nation.
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