- Dennis Wepman
Petri, Angelo (05 September 1883–04 October 1961), and Louis Petri (13 October 1912–07 April 1980), vintners, were born respectively, in Marseilles, France, and San Francisco, California. Angelo was the son of Raffaelo Petri, a hotel owner and vintner, and Rosina Bertolucci. His parents, who had moved from Lucca, Italy, to France, immigrated to the United States in 1886; they operated a hotel in San Francisco and ran a small winery on the side. So successful was his product during World War I that in 1916 Raffaelo and a partner bought a vineyard and a winery in the San Joaquin Valley. Angelo came to the United States in 1895 and attended elementary school in San Francisco. He left school at the end of the decade to work for his uncle Amadeo Petri making and selling hand-rolled cigars. In 1907 he married Amelia Guidi, with whom he had two sons, the younger of whom was Louis. The Petri-Italian-American Cigar Company prospered, its strong, black stogies known as toscani finding a large market among Italian Americans in the West. Angelo Petri became president of the firm in 1912 and increased the sales of Marca Petri cigars by aggressive merchandising and advertising. Under his direction, the company became the largest producer of cigars west of Chicago, with annual sales in the mid-1920s exceeding $50 million. Responding to a demand for cheaper and milder cigars, Petri introduced a standardized machine-made product that ranked among the most popular middle-priced cigars on the market....