Steeped in tradition and built with the blood and sweat of generations, Falcon Crest is more than a vast winery cradled in the rolling hills above San Francisco - it is the story of a family and a heritage.
Approximately in 1875, Giuseppe Gioberti, an Italian gold prospector, migrates to California. He meets Tessa Lindström, a Swede, in San Francisco and gets married with her. Giuseppe, who is called Joseph in America, however, does not dig any gold, but finds fertile soil in the Tuscany Valley, a settlement founded in 1824 and located north of San Francisco. He imports Italian vines to the U.S. and plants a vineyard on his newly acquired 50 acres of fine Tuscany Valley land. Inspired by lots of falcons in this area, he names his estate Falcon Crest. He builds up a brown limestone manor house, the Gioberti House. In 1883, Jasper, Joseph and Tessa's first son, is born. Purchasing several more vineyards and using his knowledge in viticulture, Joseph extends his growing fields to 550 acres within a few years. He now owns the largest vineyards in the valley and finally has a Château Style Winery Building and a Victorian Mansion constructed.
After Joseph's death, his son Jasper is his universal heir; Jasper, who is married to Lily Travers, has two children, Angela (JANE WYMAN) and Jason (HARRY TOWNES). Jasper's marriage, however, ends up in a disaster because his wife is very unfaithful. His ambitious daughter, Angela, convinces him to dedicate his life to his business only and gets him completely under control.
Angela gets married with Douglas Channing (STEPHEN ELLIOTT), the publisher of The San Francisco Globe, a daily newspaper. They have two daughters, Julia (ABBY DALTON) and Emma (MARGARET LADD). But their marriage is divorced a few years later.
Neither is Jason happily married. His French wife, Jacqueline Perrault (LANA TURNER), leaves him and takes their son, Chase (ROBERT FOXWORTH), to Europe.
After their father's death, Falcon Crest is passed on to Angela and Jason, who have to share the estate 50 : 50. Angela, who lives in the Victorian Mansion, runs the business; Jason, who has become an alcoholic after his divorce, is no longer interested in business affairs and makes a bare living in the Gioberti House, which he totally neglects.
When Jason becomes the victim of a very mysterious death, a codicil to Jasper's last will and testament becomes activated and changes the succession: Falcon Crest is parceled off - Angela gains control over 90 % of the estate, whereas only the old run-down Gioberti House and the 50-acre founders vineyard are willed to Jason's son Chase, who is an airline pilot now.
For the first time after 20 years, Chase returns to Tuscany to attend Jason's funeral. As he feels very much love for his ancestors' land he was born and raised on, Chase and his wife Maggie (SUSAN SULLIVAN) finally decide to leave their New York home and move the family west to California in order to start over - much to the dismay of Chase's aunt Angela, whose greed for money and power is not along the same lines with his moral integrity.
Angela is more than shocked at the sudden family reunion. Supported by her Chinese butler Chao-Li (CHAO-LI CHI) and her smart attorney Phillip Erickson (MEL FERRER), she tries to cover how Jason really died because she is afraid of losing her inherited property due to another codicil to Jasper's last will in case it becomes apparent that Jason did not die a natural death.
The inhabitants of Tuscany are seized by proud, passion, greed and thirst for revenge as well as love of the land; they all struggle for the lead in the valley - in a beautiful scenery with its superb vineyards. No risk is too high to gain control over Falcon Crest.
On the other side, there is Angie, an ambitious woman full of hate, as well as her daughters Emma and Julia, who is a enologist and works as the winemaker at Falcon Crest. For devious Angela nothing can be insidious enough to fit her plans of driving her nephew Chase out of the valley so that "her" property could once again be complete. Vicious calumnies, bribery and blackmailing is Angela's favorite way of doing business. She is assisted by her spoiled-rotten grandson Lance Cumson (LORENZO LAMAS), a young playboy, who has no moral principles and usually makes himself at home in any pretty woman's bed in the valley; he is Julia's son from her wrecked marriage with Tony Cumson (JOHN SAXON & ROBERT LOGGIA).
On the one side, there is Chase with his wife Maggie and their children Cole (WILLIAM R. MOSES) and Vickie (JAMIE ROSE & DANA SPARKS), who want nothing else but living a peaceful life in the valley. Giving up his job as a pilot, Chase tries to make a living as a vineyardist, something of which he knows very little in the beginning. Maggie works part-time as a freelance journalist for various newspapers and magazines.
Many new stars appear in the following seasons to entertain the prime time viewers. New series regulars bring along exciting storylines:
Douglas' son Richard Channing (DAVID SELBY) arrives in San Francisco. Richard, who was adopted by wealthy businessman Henri Denault (E.G. MARSHALL) after his birth, has been desperately looking for his biological mother since his teenage years. Richard realizes his vast fortune cannot compensate the lack of love in his life. After Douglas' death, Richard inherits half of his biological father's shares of The San Francisco Globe. This results in a conflict between Richard and Angela, Douglas' ex-wife, because she is angry at the fact that each of her daughters inherited only a quarter of Douglas' stockholdings. Mysterious Richard stirs up a lot of trouble in the history of the Gioberti family: He does not only become Angela's most powerful archenemy, but later also turns out to be her own son, whom she thought she had lost in childbirth, but who was actually kidnapped by Doug and his mistress, Jacqueline Perrault. In the course of time, Richard takes over the show's leading rôle after Angela.
A combination of beauty, greed for money and thirst for revenge - Melissa Agretti (DOLORES CANTU & ANA-ALICIA) is more than the designated heiress of the fertile Agretti Vineyards. Due to an everlasting family feud, she wants to get the Giobertis down. The unscrupulous young woman even gets married with Lance Cumson to defeat Angela, the "queen of the valley" - because revenge is sweeter than wine.
Terry Hartford (LAURA JOHNSON), Maggie's attractive sister, is one of Tuscany's hottest news topics when the former callgirl climbs up the social ladder by marriage.
Wealthy Greek businessman Peter Stavros (CESAR ROMERO), owner of several shipyards and chemical factories, tries to get back together with his teenage love, Angela.
Melissa's uncle, Frank Agretti (ROD TAYLOR), returns to the valley.
"Falcon Crest" chronicles the internal conflicts within a great family, whose members are often supported by attorneys, other vintners, the local authorities, the Sheriff of Tuscany County, etc. Anyone might form an alliance with anyone - it just depends on a lucrative offer, and one's partner of today might be the enemy of tomorrow.
Going through the list of special guest stars, who sometimes appear for a few episodes, is like reading the "Who is Who" encyclopedia of movie stars. Popular actors and actresses season the seasons, e.g. artists like CLIFF ROBERTSON, PARKER STEVENSON, GINA LOLLOBRIGIDA, KATE VERNON, ANNE ARCHER, CELESTE HOLM, MORGAN FAIRCHILD, KIM NOVAK, JANE BADLER, ROBERT STACK, LESLIE CARON, EDDIE ALBERT, LAUREN HUTTON, URSULA ANDRESS and SUSAN BLAKELY.