By Ian Beabout, Online Editor
At some point over the past few months, I became a wine snob. It had never really been my thing and the discount wine bottles I’d sampled over the years, quite frankly, reminded me more of shoe polish over anything fit for human consumption.
However an epiphany occurred sometime over Christmas break when I found myself taking in a hot jazz concert and a friend offered me the chance to try a bit of red. Wow, what an amazing experience that was! So much so it was enough to encourage me to begin sampling on my own.
What many people don’t realize is that there are a number of wineries in the tri-state area (which thankfully make discount dollar store wine a thing of the past) one of which is the Vino di Piccin, a small, cozy, family owned winery in Lansing, Ohio. I had the opportunity to enjoy a tasting at the Vino di Piccin and learn of the winery’s remarkable backstory.
“We are a family owned, small business,” said John Piccin, president of Vino. “There are seven siblings involved and each of us has our own unique talents we offer to the winery. It has been wonderful being able to spend more time with my siblings, as we’ve always been close. There are some interesting discussions and, yes, even arguments, but at the end of the day, we always know we will remain close.”
Piccin’s grandparents emigrated to the states in the early 20th century from Vittorio Veneto, a small town in northern Italy. Wine making, along with many other family traditions have been passed down the Piccin family tree over the years.
“Our father passed his knowledge of wine making onto us and we continue this journey to honor his memory,” said Piccin.
While visiting the winery, I had the opportunity to sample all of the wines while snacking on various meats and cheeses, and conversing with Piccin who provided a guided tour through the history and process of each. He started me out at the driest white and gradually worked toward the sweetest of the red (the delicious Fritz’s Red – Vino’s best seller). You’d think with wine this good there would be a closely guarded trade secret.
“Really, there are no secrets,” Piccin said. “As a dear family friend, Joe Canini, says, you can’t make good wine out of bad grapes. We work hard to ensure the quality and the grapes that we receive are grown to very demanding standards, from the volume that is permitted to grow per acre to the time of day the grapes are harvested.”
With the passion of the Piccin family, it really is no wonder the wine is so irresistible.
“Our father made wine using his senses more than chemistry,” Piccin said. “We do not try to over-complicate the process. There are many times when the book says to add something, but if it tastes good already, drink it. At least that’s my motto.”
As for the future of the Vino, Piccin is optimistic.
“As people learn of the health benefits of drinking wine each day, the market continues to grow,” said Piccin. “We are in the process of obtaining building permits to construct a new 3,600 square foot manufacturing facility and purchase new equipment to increase our production. We recently began selling our wine in a local, family-owned grocery chain and the reception has been overwhelming.”
If you are interested in discovering the Vino di Piccin for yourself, head to their Facebook page to find out about their tasting opportunities, or look for their wine in the aisles of Reisbeck’s in Bridgeport, Ohio.