A winemaking opportunity will now be available in Fairfield County and surrounding areas for those who always dreamed of making their own vino from crush to bottle, personalizing their own label, as well as hosting private wine-tasting parties. To see what it's all about, the public is invited to an Open House at Shelter Rock Winery's Winemaking Club on Saturday, Sept. 7 from 3:30 to 7:00 p.m. at 5 Shelter Rock Rd., Building D in Danbury, next to the Comcast building and to the right of DMV.
Shelter Rock Winery will open its doors in an industrial section of Danbury once known as "Hat City," and if owner Giovanni Petretta has his way, it may soon be known as "Wine City." After successfully operating Santo Stefano Winemaking Club in Wappingers Falls, New York five years ago, Giovanni has decided to relocate to a new facility at 5D Shelter Rock Rd. in a factory-size, reddish-brown brick building reminiscent of his native Italy.
The concept is simple, gather a group of friends and purchase the crate of grapes which arrive from Sonoma and other areas of California in the fall. Then, host a winemaking educational event party where everyone participates crushing grapes, bottling and labeling. During the event, enjoy samples of wine made from last year's harvest of grapes from Giovanni's private label "Casa Petretta Cellars," along with some appetizers.
Giovanni encourages his members to share their hand-crafted made wines for events such as family reunions, corporate outings, team-building, pre-wedding festivities, fund-raisers and seminars. His concept is to return to the purity of natural sulfite-free winemaking and guide members from selecting the best grapes to choosing from French or American oak barrels.
A membership can be shared among six people with each member receiving 46 to 48 bottles each. Smaller groups may be paired together with Giovanni's help. The winemaking club will operate seasonally when grapes are ripe - from September through November, with choices of Cabernet, Merlot, Shiraz, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Chardonnay and more; including blends of wines as well.
photo #1 Giovanni Petretta, owner of Shelter Rock Winery. photo by Michelle Leo
photo #2 Label artwork for Casa Petretta Cellars by local artist Mark Gerber