Dana Cali of East Northport had been looking forward to an outing at Del Vino Vineyards in Northport ever since she noticed the mansion-like tasting room rising along the road to her son’s day care center.
“We’re locals. It’s nice to have something like this so close to home,” Cali, 44, an office manager, says as she and her husband, Tom, 45, an air traffic controller, sipped glasses of sauvignon blanc and their son, Nicholas, played on the back lawn at the recently opened winery. “You feel like you’re in a different world.”
On a sunny and warm afternoon, weeks of rain and years of controversy about the winery gave way to conviviality. More than 120 guests enjoyed wine and appetizers on the lawn, inside the tasting room and under patio umbrellas.
Customers said they were drawn to the kind of wine-tasting experience that used to require an East End trek.
“We were spending our time driving out to the North Fork. Now we’re here five minutes from home.” says Lori Pineo, executive director of the East Northport Chamber of Commerce. Pineo was enjoying the wine and a view of the vineyard with her son, Justin, 29, a television show set decorator, and his girlfriend, Molly McCann, 30.
Justin Pineo, a budding wine connoisseur, says of his glass of red: “It compares well with some of the super Tuscans that I’ve had.”
WHAT TO EXPECT
Like many a North Fork winery, Del Vino not only makes wine on the premises but also has a kitchen. The servers will deliver your hummus and crostini, glass of chilled chardonnay or frosé (a rosé wine slushy) to a picnic blanket in the grass, general manager Joseph Evangelista says.
Entertainment includes music on weekends in the tasting room and, beginning in June, bocce, jenga and other lawn games. Wine club members will be invited to help pick white wine grapes at a harvest festival.
The vineyard bordering a nature preserve to the north was planted in 2012, with vines from nurseries in New York, California, Washington State and Oregon, says Fred Giachetti of Northport, winery co-owner with his wife, Lisa. The red grapes come from Long Island’s East End, as does the vineyard manager, Steve Mudd of Mudd’s Vineyards in Southold.
Hints of the East End can also be noted in the front entrance floor inlaid with Italian marble and decorated with the vineyard’s crest. The tasting room’s rectangular bar is topped with Carrara marble, the bluestone patio’s fountains decorated with dancing cherubs.
LONG ROAD TO OPENING
“We wanted to make something beautiful for the community and create a destination for families and friends to come and enjoy,” Giachetti says. Giachetti passed up putting his name on the labels, because he thought guests would have had difficulty pronouncing it. Del Vino, he says, is Italian for “The Wine.”
After plans for the vineyard were announced in 2015, Giachetti faced opposition from residents and town officials concerned about the possible effect on the adjacent elementary school and local traffic conditions. Other locals also expressed their support at the Saturday event.
“I’m so happy this [Del Vino Vineyards] is here and that these acres of land are not going to be developed and instead will be preserved for my children to see,” Northport resident Justin Finocchio, 42, says as he enjoys wine and fresh mozzarella at a tasting room table with Nicole DaCosta, 35, of Lawrence.