By Ray Spaziani
In 1952 my father, with my older brother’s military award check, bought building land on Drummond Road in Orange. He and his brother Jack had a construction and renovation business, and he wanted to build a big house for his family. He built us a magnificent colonial cape. He liked living in Orange. He was born just outside of Rome, and I think it has to do with the fact that Orange was founded on seven hills, just like Rome.
One of the many things I wish I had the opportunity to share with him is that Orange has his own vineyard. Stappa Vineyard is located on a magnificent property at 403 Derby Tpke. and surrounded by trees. The three sisters who own it – Alexa Charles, Rosamaria Ponte and Sara Landino Mahon, have planted over 5,000 vines.
The winery was bought in 2020 by the three from their father Pietro to help him make his dream come true. They got off to a good start. They grew up working in restaurants and hotels, and the girls spent their summers in Italy where wine is not a drink, it is a way of life. A meal without wine in Italy is called breakfast.
The family immigrated from south-central Italy, where their Pietro had been a shepherd and their mother, Antonietta, had grown peaches and tobacco in the village of Santa Maria Capua Vetere. The village is located on the west bank about a quarter of the Italian “boot”.
These people were no strangers to hard work. They have truly restored the natural beauty of the land. The wines offered are Cayuga White, Chardonnay, RosÃ¨, Marquette and Chambourcin.
The wine is made in a large restored building which may have served as a barn. They turned it into a magnificent, somewhat rustic building that houses the fermentation tanks and oak barrels. There is also a wine bar in the building. There are seats in and around the building. There is even a charming old windmill on the property.
There is no trace of traffic noise in the wine-growing area; it’s private and a wonderful addition to Orange. You can bring food, sit and have a glass of wine and enjoy the surroundings with a touch of old world charm.
They are closed on Monday and Tuesday. They are open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. It’s a great place to celebrate a beautiful fall afternoon.
Ray Spaziani is the New Haven Chapter Director of the American Wine Society. He teaches wine courses for the Milford Board of Education and has a few openings for classes in October. He is part of the Amonte del Vino tasting panel and Wine Maker Magazine. Email Ray with your wine questions at [email protected]