How the Beltramo and Gemello family connected over wine and family

by Linda Hubbard on May 25, 2022

Longtime residents may remember the Gemello Winery on El Camino near Rengstorff in Mountain View. Kevin Ferguson’s grandfather, Mario Gemello, retired in 1982, but his cousins the Obesters maintained it for another 10 years. Mario passed away in 2005, but Grandma Kay celebrated her 100th birthday last June.

Kevin is taking that outline of his family’s history and writing a memoir about health, aging & winemaking in the San Francisco Bay Area called Rain on the Montebello Ridge. He’s been releasing chapters on Substack, and he alerted us about one chapter in particular that tells the tale of how great grandfather John Gemello accepted a loan from Giovanni Beltramo, which gave it a Menlo Park/Atherton link.

He told us that he’d planned to write the memoir when his grandfather (Mario) was still alive. “But it was 15 years later than I started doing research and interviewing my grandmother.”

Beltramo had worked for noted San Francisco lawyer John T. Doyle before buying 3.5 acres in Atherton to grow grapes. When the two connected, Beltramo was 53, and he asked the 30-year-old Gemello if he had hoped to bring his wife and daughter to America. Gemello said yes.

Kevin writes: “Beltramo knew all too well the challenges of trying to make it alone in a new world. He offered to loan Gemello the money, $190,5 for first class tickets from Italy to San Jose.

“Gemello graciously accepted the loan and sent [wife] Teresa a telegram informing her he had arranged for her and Marguerite to come to America.”

Kevin explained that it was one of a number of things he learned when he connected with Diana (Beltramo) Hewitt, Giovanni’s great granddaughter. He continues to discover new stories but still hopes to have the book finished by the end of the year.

“I just need to stop going down rabbit holes!” he said.

You can read the complete chapter of Two Guys from Italy online.

Photo of Giovanni Beltram courtesy of Kevin Ferguson; photo of Kevin courtesy of the author.


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