Sometimes your profession is inevitable.
That’s the story behind Pizzadili Winery in Felton, Delaware. Owned by brothers Tony and Pete (along with wives Kathy and Jean), the vineyard brings to life a family history of winemaking.
On her tours, Kathy explains it this way: “In 1956 the family immigrated from Italy. They came on the Andrea Doria, and, yes, it was the very next trip when it sank.
She continues, “Their father was a winemaker, and they shared the dream—I guess it was in their blood.”
The grounds where the vineyard now sits became available in 1992, and the family bought them and planted their first grapes in 1993. They opened in 2007 after building a pavilion and other amenities, and now rent the grounds for events such as weddings or other celebrations. They also operate Pizzadili Catering, a 50-year-old business started by an uncle.
The Pizzadili Winery produces between 3-5,000 gallons of wine each year, selling only at the facility itself. “We put very little sulfates [preservatives] in our wine,” says Kathy, “and sell only at the Winery because of that. We are a small family-run business.”
While the business has grown, it’s still very much a family affair. “It used to be that Tony and Pete would go to the family and say, ‘Don't make any plans at harvest time!’” says Kathy.
The process remains hands on, with the juice stirred three times a day, then pressed, then put into oak barrels that are replaced after just a few uses, “because all the oak flavor has been pulled out.” After the wine has fermented, it is then chilled down to stop the fermentation process. Next, they start the filtration, and then put the liquid into gravity-fed tanks and begin the bottling.
The family then hand-labels and hand-shrink wraps the bottles for sale. They even offer custom labeling for special occasions, including the opportunity to get your name and photo on the bottle.
The dream that started under the tutelage of Salvatore Pizzadili as he taught his sons the business of winemaking, has grown into a Winery that produces over 12 different grape varieties and a variety of wines. The most popular is a table wine called Strawberry Mist, but you’ll also find a Wives’ Table Wine and a Brothers’ Table Wine.
Given their family history, it was inevitable.