Office of Borough President James P. Molinaro
Staten Island, New York
B.P. Molinaro, Tuscan winemaker Piergiorgio Castellani tour future site of Staten Island vineyards
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Borough President James P. Molinaro and Tuscan winemaker Piergiorgio Castellani, Jr., today toured the future site of the Vineyard Project at the Staten Island Botanical Garden. They were joined by the Founders’ Group, local business leaders who started the project.
The Tuscan Garden Vineyard Project at the Staten Island Botanical Garden is a proposal that will include a demonstration winemaking facility, and two-acre vineyard which will educate the public on grape-growing and winemaking and produce a number of different varietals. The project complements the already completed Tuscan Garden Villa, which is located near the proposed vineyard, and is modeled after the Villa Gamberaia in Florence, Italy.
“We are honored that Mr. Castellani has traveled from our sister city, Crespina, to provide us with technical assistance on this very exciting project,” said Molinaro, who has allocated $1.5 million in capital funding for the vineyard. “Staten Island is hereby serving notice to American wineries that you’ve got some serious competition coming on board!”
Piergiorgio Castellani, co-owner of Castellani Wines, located near Pisa, Italy, and New York-based Biagio Cru and Estate Wines, are winemaking consultants for the project.
“I am honored and excited to be part of this historic project which will be a wonderful expression of Italian-American relations,” said Castellani. “We will be creating a serious wine that embodies the historical winemaking tradition of Tuscany, but with a New World influence.”
The Founders’ Group consists of R. Randy Lee, Esq., president of Leewood Real Estate Group and Chairman of the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation; John Profaci, president of Colavita Olive Oil; Henry A. Salmon, president, Equity Valuation Associates; and Joseph Libassi, chairman, Victory State Bank.
“This vineyard and winery initiative will be part of a wider effortto re-shape the image of Staten Island by bringing a bit of Tuscany and a touch of historyto our great borough,” said Mr. Lee. “It will bea wonderful center of learning for children and adults alike and will clearly become another great attraction for the Staten Island Botanical Gardens and Snug Harbor.”
“The climate and terroir of Staten Island is similar to other winemaking areas of New York State like the Finger Lakes region and Long Island,” said Benjamin Restivo of Biagio Cru and Estate Wines. “We believe that certain varietals grown in Tuscany could be a good fit for the Botanical Garden site."
February 20, 2008