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Herb Filipponi—From Milk to Wine—a Recollection of Coming of Age on the California Central Coast

Sean Weir

  83 year-old Herb Filipponi’s father emigrated to the Central Coast of California from the Swiss canton of Ticino in the dawning days of the 20th Century. Herb’s dad married a girl from Cambria, a member of the Fiscalini family, who had also emigrated from Ticino.  


The Filipponi family started a dairy operation in the hills behind Morro Bay, but a few years later, they relocated their dairy to a farm just south of San Luis Obispo in 1938. Their farmhouse was adjacent to the Pacific Coast Railway line to Avila Beach, with South Higuera Street, the main arterial out of town back in the day, a quarter mile away.

The railway is long gone but the family farmhouse where Herb grew up is still there, just off Highway 101. It’s now the home of the FilipponiWine Cellars tasting room.

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a visit with Herb Filipponi as he recalls the Swiss/Italian dairy heritage on the Central Coast, his childhood years, coming of age during WWII, and the family journey from milking cows to making wine.

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR Podcast travel show Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer via: 

Tom Wilmer produces on-air content for Issues & Ideas airing over KCBX and is producer and host of the six-time Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR podcast Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer. Recorded live on-location across America and around the world, the podcasts feature the arts, culture, music, nature, history, science, wine & spirits, brewpubs, and the culinary arts--everything from baseball to exploring South Pacific atolls to interviewing the real Santa Claus in the Arctic.