Picture yourself at a winery, sipping a fine Merlot, nibbling on charcuterie, surrounded by flowers, plants, and trees. You’re in Napa Valley, right? Try South Salem.
Vintner John Vuolo has opened what he’s aptly calling a micro-winery on the grounds of the Gossett Brothers Nursery. Offering tastings, wine by the glass, simple food pairings, and bottles for sale, the small South Salem Winery is big on charm.
The welcoming vibe comes direct from Vuolo, who says opening the place has been a labor of love. He credits his Italian heritage for his interest in vino, quipping, “Go back far enough, and every Italian comes from winemakers.”
While his grandfather made wine in Brooklyn out of “grapes from Canarsie market and sugar,” Vuolo is proud of his own studied artisanal method, which he says gently coaxes the best from grapes he sources from Long Island, the Finger Lakes, and Chile. The 2015 vintage includes a Chardonnay, a Merlot, and a Zinfandel. This year he has bottled a Malbec.
A hands-on approach is apparent in the tasting room, as well, which Vuolo created out of reclaimed and repurposed materials whenever possible (e.g., the bar is a beautifully finished piece of an old black walnut tree). Sharing space with the nursery gives the place a “botanical-garden feel,” he adds.
One more reason to stop by: former City Limits pastry chef Tracy Kamperdyk Assue is doing the menu of meats, cheeses, seasonal vegetables, and sandwiches.