Angelo Papagni Memorial Scholarship Fund

PapagniAngelo Gregory Papagni was born 95 years ago in Fresno to Demetrio, a grape farmer, and his wife Rose, who emigrated to Fresno from Italy. Angelo and his beloved wife of 73 years, Blanche Mastrantuono, raised 5 children. He had great love for his Catholic faith, never missing Sunday Mass and always attending daily lenten Mass. He breathed his love of life into his family and everyone he met.

Angelo started farming at age nine when tall enough to follow his father's footprints in the soft vineyard rows. He attended Fresno High School and Fresno State college. He was very supportive of the Viticulture and Enology department, both financially and with his leadership. He played the saxophone at the old Rainbow Ballroom in Fresno, for dancers in the jazz age. As a professional musician, he was selected to play for the John Phillip Souza band. Angelo made his career in farming alongside his father. He loved adventure so he became a pilot. He embarked on his farming with the same delight that marked his entire life.


Through the depression, Angelo grew and shipped grapes to the east coast for the home wine makers, which continues today under the labels he preserved and pioneered. For decades, he dreamed of wines from grapes from the San Joaquin Valley, recalling the international acclaim for dry pre-prohibition wines. Using farming techniques learned here and abroad, Angelo started his winery in 1973. His belief in the region led to his first gold medals in Italy in 1976. By 1986, Angelo's farming practices earned him the moniker "Maverick In the Big Valley". Today, his technological advances in wine juice concentrate enhanced the production of high quality wines at home.


He touched the lives of many in his long and fruitful life. He is survived by his wife, Blanche, five children, Marilyn, Rosemary, Kathleen, Dana, and Demetrio; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be made payable to the Ag One Foundation for the Angelo Papagni Scholarship Fund in support of Jordan College students. 

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For more information, please contact Ag One at 559.278.4266.

Obituary from Dignity Memorial