By Cyndi Zaweski, Northforker Magazine
If a Tuscan vineyard vacation isn’t in the cards this spring, a visit to Del Vino Vineyards in Northport is the next best thing.
A two-story, 3,000-square-foot tasting room with intricate stonework reminiscent of an Italian villa helps transport patrons to the old world wine region, which inspired Del Vino’s ambience and winemaking process. Owners Fred and Lisa Giachetti drew upon their Italian heritage for the winery long before the first rows of vines were planted.
Fine wine and food, and a warmth akin to a modern day version of Sundays at grandma’s, served as the inspiration for the tasting room when they broke ground in 2013.
“When you walk in, we wanted it to be as if you are walking into our home,” Mr. Giachetti said. “It is about an overall experience, with us it is about coming to make and enjoy memorable moments.”
The family’s winemaking dates back to the early 1800s in a small Italian village named San Leucio, and the style has been passed down for generations. The Giachettis started making their own wine based on the family’s recipes more than two decades ago to enjoy around the dinner table with guests in their Northport home.
“Their recipes were the basis,” said Ms. Giachetti, whose uncle continues the family’s winery in Italy. “We adapted it … it is us sharing a little piece of Italy.”
The dream to build a winery came into focus when Mr. Giachetti, a real estate attorney by trade, found the 12-acre property on the advice of neighbors in 2010. Initially, the couple considered constructing homes, but after clearing the parcel they realized its potential for growing grapes. The land has rich agricultural history and was previously used to grow apples, blackberries, strawberries and potatoes.
The Giachettis consulted Steve Mudd, veteran Long Island vineyard manager and owner of Southold’s Mudd Vineyard, which has helped shaped the North Fork grape-growing industry since its infancy, to gauge if conditions were ripe for a vineyard. Sure enough, it was, and they got to work in planting the 8.5 acres of vines that include varieties such as pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc and riesling.
The Giachettis are the head winemakers, with consulting help from another North Fork wine industry veteran Gillies Martin, who is the winemaker at Sparkling Pointe in Southold. The reds are rich and on the dry side while the whites are fruit-forward, Mr. Giachetti explained. All are unoaked, with the exception of the chardonnay, which is predominantly steel-aged with “a little toasted oak” notes picked up from its brief time in an oak barrel.
“We allow the profile of the grapes to shine through,” Mr. Giachetti said. “They are easy to drink and meant to be enjoyed.”
The tasting room, a renovated 90-year-old farmhouse, is a mix of modern and rustic. Earthy hues and reclaimed wooden beams balance imported Italian stone accents and carrara marble finishes, and a double-sized fireplace provides vineyard views from the bar area and tabletop seating in the main floor tasting room. The aesthetic is carried upstairs, where there is additional seating and a bird’s-eye-view of the vines.
“I wanted it to be Tuscan-meets-rustic with modern elements,” Ms. Giachetti said. “It took a lot of time to make sure the details of that were right.”
After five years, the tasting room opened in November. In addition to flights, wines by the glass and frosé, Del Vino offers an Italian tapas menu of Margherita pizza, homemade hummus and crostini, and platters of artisan meats and cheeses.
There’s also sandwiches and a chocolate dessert option, as well as a selection of draft craft beers brewed by Northport’s Harbor Head Brewing Co. For the upcoming summer season, Del Vino will have lawn games, live music and other special events, such as a Mother’s Day brunch and a Fourth of July barbecue.