Our Story at Auto Vino
In 2009, the story of Auto Vino commenced with a chance encounter at the Redwood City Ferrari Dealership, where a Silicon Valley Semiconductor luminary introduced Buff Giurlani and Bob Mullen. Bob, a pioneer in the “Boutique Winery” movement since the early 1960s, joined forces with Buff to establish what we now know as Auto Vino, a fusion of “Cars & Wine.”
Buff’s roots traced back to a family-owned olive oil import business in San Francisco, coupled with an unwavering passion for swift Italian sports cars. His entrepreneurial spirit was inherited from his grandfather, Angelo Giurlani, who had arrived in San Francisco from Italy in 1895. Angelo’s humble beginnings involved delivering groceries to fellow Italian immigrants in the scenic Marina District from a horse-drawn wagon. He later co-founded “STAR Olive Oil,” which Buff expanded into a nationwide brand before the family’s sale in the mid-1970s.
Another integral figure in the Auto Vino narrative is Dick Burns, a close friend of Buff’s and a co-founder. In 2009, Dick spearheaded the opening of the Menlo Park location. His background in the restaurant and food service industries, as well as his ownership of Todd’s Foods, added depth to the Auto Vino team.
Bob Mullen, the other co-founder and the visionary behind Woodside Vineyards, embarked on his wine-producing journey in 1960, starting with just one acre of grapes on Kings Mountain Road. The winery obtained the necessary licenses three years later, and Bob, hailing from Youngstown, Ohio, began to make his mark on the California wine scene.
As California’s wine industry rapidly expanded from 121 wineries to over 4,200, Woodside Vineyards gained recognition for its exceptional wines. Today, our dedicated vineyard workers cultivate and harvest grapes from more than 35 vineyards on private estates in Woodside and the surrounding region.
In the present day, Buff and his eldest son, Phil Giurlani, who serves as the Chief Operating Officer, oversee the day-to-day operations at Auto Vino. This includes managing bookings for private and corporate events, offering Friday lunch services, and hosting weekend wine tastings.
We mustn’t forget Daisey G., our beloved Friday lunch and Weekend Wine Tasting greeter. She is a purebred Yellow Labrador Retriever, radiating love and affection even to those who might be apprehensive about dogs. Her friendly nature and joyous tail-wagging will win your heart in no time.