Chateau de Philadelphia?
Almost. Anywhere there's an Italian community you are going to find winemakers. The grapes might not be local, but the talented winemakers are.
One of the most talented is Ralph Cipriano who won Best in Show honors at Philadelphia's Vendemmia festival. Ralph tells his wine-making journey in a new book, Garagista: A Home Winemaking Journal. The illustrated book wine chronicles the seasonal joys and labors of a Garagista (someone who makes wine in their garage).
The book starts with the Sunday dinner table at his grandparents' home, and ends with a recipe for a barrel of Zinfandel. And it's very good Zin. Or, as I call it, "Ralph's Pretty Good Wine".
Ralph Cipriano has been a reporter for more than 30 years, writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, and Philadelphia magazine, and is also the author of Courtroom Cowboy. His interest in homemade wine began while covering South Philadelphia as a reporter for the Inquirer. He’s made his own wine since 1992, turning it into a family enterprise that includes his wife and two sons. Ralph also competes in the annual winemaking competition at Philadelphia’s Vendemmia festival. This book details his journey from novice to Best of Show.
He'll be autographing copies this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fante's in the Ninth Street Market. If you can't make it, you can pre-order a copy ($12.95) at Fante's web site. When you place the order on-line you can specify a dedication for the author to write into your copy.