What led you to become a winemaker?
The culture of wine was embodied in my soul at the very young age of 13 with one of my first visits with family on the island my mom was born in Italy. Ischia is a very small island to the Northwest of the bay of Naples. With this particular visit in 1981 the island was still covered with many hectares of wine grapes. Mom’s uncle still lived in the very house my mom was born and he still produced wine in the same cellar my great grandfather used. I spent that summer shadowing my mom’s uncle from vineyard to cellar and also sipping a fair share each day at lunch with him. It is very clear to me today that this particular window of time in my life had begun to shape and cultivate my future interest in growing and making wine.
As a young adult I began visiting wineries in various regions and of course Long Island. In 1993 I joined the American Wine Society and began their wine judge certification program. This was also the first year at attempting my own winemaking with the father of a close friend, Mario. A native Italian with limited winemaking knowledge but powerful in expressing the simplicity of the process, Mario inspired me to satisfy my need to learn the technical aspects of winemaking.
The second formal wine educational program I took was provided by U.C.Davis in 1998, soon after this program I began offering my time as a volunteer to assist at any level at Long Island wineries. Having experience at a professional level had solidified the importance of joining Mario’s simple approach to winemaking with the technical knowledge I was acquiring.
In 2006 my wife and I purchased our Cutchogue vineyard and built our home on the vineyard that year. I must mention at this point that my first professional career in the building industry started with a formal education in construction engineering and Architecture. The emphasis in this career has always been the creative side of architecture, creating spaces and using materials and methods of construction to intrigue the minds of those experiencing those spaces. I posses a very open and creative mind that I also apply to my wine making and more importantly to the way I manage my grape vines.
What are the unique characteristics of your winemaking style?
I raise my grape vines with as much holistic, positive exposure as I do my four children. I nurture the grapes and allow them to express all of the positive exposure I gave them while they were maturing and, like my children, they have always pleasantly surprised me. They also continue to surprise me as they excel in bottle with age, as do my children with age.
Describe the relationship between the Long Island wine community and the agriculture, aquaculture and overall East End culinary culture.
It seems to me that the Long Island culinary culture has been created in harmony with the growth of agriculture, aquaculture and the wine region. We are fortunate to have some of the most talented restaurateurs and chefs here locally that are presenting all of our products on their menus to help spread this incredible message.
What foods are paired best with the wines of Long Island?
There are so many varieties of wines being produced on Long Island and yet new varieties still being introduced that I would venture to say that each of our wines will probably find a pairing food partner anywhere in the world. With that said, I would recommend finding a locally grown food to pair with any of our wines.
What Long Island wine would you recommend to someone just discovering the region
If you are just discovering the Long Island wine region and its wines I would recommend traveling to one of the furthest points east and stop at One Woman winery to sample their Sauvignon Blanc.You will experience a vibrantly crisp wine expressing lots of fruit and zippy acidity. Your travels will enable you to see and appreciate the various types of agriculture and wineries we have to offer.
What are your passions outside of wine?
Outside of wine my passions are to be in the outdoors. I enjoy boating in the summer which may or may not include fishing or clamming. I also enjoy hunting in the winter while hiking mountain sides and soaking up the views.
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