Only 2 days left to get tickets for the Angela Lansbury event!

Did you know that Murder Ridge Winery, one of the sponsors of our Friday fundraiser, has a dark history behind its name? The land where the vineyard is located was once the site of a century-old murder that shocked the Anderson Valley community.

In November 1910, Joe Cooper, a well-known pioneer of Anderson Valley, went missing. A search was conducted around his cabin near Yorkville, but no trace of him was found. A few weeks later, human bones were discovered in a pile of partially burned brush near the cabin of Pete Gianoli, a neighbor of Cooper’s.

Aerial view of a vineyard on a ridge

Perli Vineyard, 2023. Location of the 1910 murder of Joe Cooper. (Courtesy of Murder Ridge Winery)

Gianoli confessed to lighting the fire, but claimed that the bones were from animals. A search of Gianoli’s cabin, however, turned up Cooper’s bloodstained coat, and additional bloodstains on the walls and floor. Gianoli was tried for Cooper’s murder, but was acquitted by the jury because the remains could not be positively identified.

Despite the acquittal, the community was convinced of Gianoli’s guilt, and soon afterwards, he boasted that he had gotten away with murder. After Gianoli began threatening his neighbors, Sheriff Ralph Byrnes arrested him again. He was found insane before he could be tried on those charges and sent to an asylum. When Gianoli was released, he disappeared. Family lore says that his family put him on a boat and sent him back to Italy.

Join us for a special tribute to the beloved actress, Angela Lansbury on Friday, May 5, 5pm-8pm. The evening begins with a hosted reception at the Blair House Inn, followed by a screening of clips from Angela Lansbury’s career at the Matheson Theater. $60 Members, $70 for General Public.