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The Story Behind The Wine

Mafia Princess

I remember clearly driving around New York after my great-grandmother’s funeral listening to my grandma, my mom, and her sister talking about how things had changed in the last few years, how the Chinese mafia had moved in and didn’t have the same ethics the Italian mafia did. “Wait. What?” I interrupted from the back seat, “So all those stories you told about Grandma and Grandpa Ramondi were true?” 

There are times you are told stories of previous generations that seem too crazy to be true, and times those stories are crazier than you thought possible. I quickly realized this was one of the latter as my grandma began retelling all the stories I had heard when I was younger, and they turned out to be bigger than I remembered… which all solidified my nickname, “Mafia Princess.”

The Story Behind The Wine

The Law of Attraction

Growing up in New York shortly after the turn of the century must have been quite the experience. So many different cultures, peoples, and groups. Just like today, there were times being a pretty young lady had its advantages and times it didn't, such as when you catch the eye of the wrong man.

Nowadays, it usually isn't a big deal when the wrong guy is interested in you, you just quit responding to his phone calls and texts, and he gets the idea. For my great-grandmother Rose, it was far from simple. She had attracted the attention of a Mafia Don, definitely the wrong kind of attention!

Her family ended up hiding her out in the mountains of New York for almost a year, giving the Mafia Don ample time to find some other lady who was more inclined to join the family.

The Story Behind The Wine

Italian Weddings

My great-grandparents got married in the early 1900s, and their marriage started differently than most marriages today. One day, Rose Jannoti got all dolled up, and Joseph Ramondii got to look at her and decide if he wanted to marry her. He must have liked what he saw because the two were married shortly after. So this pseudo-arranged marriage might seem strange to us, but despite this, they stayed married for over 70 years and had five children. While things weren't always easy, I remember them laughing and smiling together. 

While I think it's a fantastic story, I am glad our family traditions have changed over the last century. Though, it still seems crazy that this was how families started not long ago.