The establishment of F. Colavita & Son had its beginnings in the late 1920′s or mid 1930′s with my maternal grandfather, Modestino Farina in Newark, New Jersey. He had a winery and a grape distribution business. In the 40′s he sent out one of his sons, Orlando Farina, to California to secure sources of wine and grapes for his business. With the legal changes that the State of New Jersey implemented in the early 50′s the winery had to close.
All through the 50′s, my father and his brother-in-laws ran the grape distribution business. After graduating college in 1964, a partnership was set up between my father and me. A few years later I started to go to California to help my uncle. In 1973 I formed Sunniland Fruit, Inc. For thirty years Sunniland Fruit shipped a lot of fresh fruit and both table grapes and wine grapes all over the world. In 1978, I gave up the business in Newark because I didn’t want to leave my family and the California business was growing.
In 2003 Sunniland Fruit shut down operations due to the death of one of my partners. I continued the wine grape business under the auspices of F. Colavita & Son. In the transition of different companies I started to concentrate on supplying grape buyers with some of the best grapes available under the “Colavita’s Northern Special” brand of grapes. That label has now become the highest standard in the industry.
Today we are shipping grapes, juices and wine to many wineries throughout the country. Our business of selling to home makers through distributors and directly continues with ever growing volume.
In 2014 a fourth generation will start to be active in the business. My daughters Alison Colavita and Anna Colavita-Solari are going to be integrated into the business.