The 25th Annual Homemade Wine-Tasting Contest was recently held at the Italian Center in Stamford, Connecticut. Thirteen homemade winemakers presented their red wines to over 200 attendees for tasting and rating of the wines. The event’s mission to preserve Italian traditions included performances of Italian folkloric dancing, live music, spuntini and homemade desserts. The local, festive event also included picnic baskets filled with homemade Italian delicacies brought by attendees.
This year’s event was emceed by Mary Anne Deluca Melillo, host of the Saturday morning radio show “Mary Anne’s Italian Hour” on WGCH with music provided by musician, singer and DJ Bruno Macari. The Annual Homemade Wine-Tasting Contest has become a special celebration, bringing generations together under one roof. Younger winemakers are now continuing the tradition, learning the craft of fermentation and making wine at home. The highlight of every year’s celebration includes a re-enactment of traditional grape stomping by members of the folkloric dance group and members of the local community.
The idea for this event was sparked by Stamford’s former Mayor, Honorable Stanley Esposito, while he was on the campaign trail for his election in 1992. As he was going door to door meeting constituents, he discovered that the Italian Americans in Stamford were in the middle of wine-making season at home. He was offered a taste from every homemade winemaker, but it was impossible for him to determine whose wine was the best, so he decided to host a contest. The first ever Homemade Wine-Tasting Contest in Stamford was co-organized by the Federazione Laziali d’America, which is made up of two local groups from the Lazio region – Settefrati and Minturno. The co-founders of the event are Hon. Stanley Esposito, Michael Sabia, Bill Gerardi, Frank J. Mercede, Angelo P. Raus and Joe Del Torto and hosted by The Italian Center.
This year’s winners were 1st Prize – Giuseppe Tamburro; 2nd Prize – Alex Coppola and 3rd Prize – Frank Coppola. The top three winners all received a Proclamation from the City of Stamford’s Mayor, Honorable David Martin.