Friday, January 26, 2018


Jose Fuente was a migrant farm worker originally from Mexico who toiled in the vineyards that dotted Napa Valley just outside San Francisco.  He moved there in his teens, just after the Great Quake of 1906.  For the next sixty years he worked for a variety of varietal vintners.  The Pinonis, the Gambinis, the Giobertis, the Bianccis - Fuente worked on an itinerant basis for all of those wine-making families and more, until he was offered a permanent position with the Channings.  Over the years, he married and had children; his wife died in the late 1950s and his children moved away, his son stayed in San Francisco while his daughter moved south to Los Angeles.

We first met Jose Fuente in 1970, when he had already retired and was living in a small apartment in San Francisco.  His only companion was his small dog Miguel, who got dognapped and held for a ransom of fifty dollars.  Even though Chief Robert T. Ironside's team was able to retrieve Miguel, the little dog passed away not much longer after that ordeal.

Heartbroken, Fuente accepted his daughter's perpetual invite to move in with her family in Los Angeles.  Once there, he looked for a job in order to make a contribution to the family.  As luck would have it, there was a vineyard just outside the City of Angels, run by the Carsini Family, half brothers Adrian and Ric Carsini.  With all of the references he had from his former employers in the north, Adrian Carsini took the old man on as a custodian within the processing plant.  There he met Police Lieutenant Columbo and gave him directions to Mr. Carsini's office.


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