My father grew up watching his grandfather make wine in the basement of their two-family house located in an Italian American neighborhood in Waterbury, CT. Every Fall the entire family pitched in to separate the berries from stems, sterilize equipment, and crush the grapes prior to fermentation. Having never met my great grandfather, but wanting more connection to my cultural roots, I set out on a mission to make wine. I did not use a "kit", but instead chose to procure real Cabernet Franc grapes from a small vineyard in Paso Robles, CA.
That first vintage turned out so good that my family and friends couldn't get enough. This was a problem, since it conflicted with my goal of personal consumption! I explored expansion of my garage operation beyond the original five cases that I made, . . . but all roads eventually led me to commercial production. Unofficially created in 2009 and legally formalized in 2010, Zilaro Cellars was born with my vision of creating high quality wine in southern California using grapes from AVA's further north.