From Milton to Mendoza

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When Tony and Karen met at Salisbury University in 1988, they had no idea they would end up marrying, raising a family of three children, owning a successful landscaping business in Milton, Delaware, and now a winery in Mendoza, Argentina. Like many entrepreneurs, they started off on a different path than where they ended up: Tony with a degree in P.E., and Karen with a B.S. in elementary education. After college, Tony worked at Caesar Rodney school in Camden, Delaware, and Karen taught first grade at East Millsboro Elementary. But the business bug struck shortly thereafter, and that’s how Sposato Landscape & Irrigation Company was born.

Not satisfied with their successful landscaping business after twenty-three years, Tony yearned for something more. After several trips to Argentina, Tony fell in love with the area and the people. Soon, he started scoping out the wine-centric region of Mendoza at the foothills of the Andes Mountain. Tony decided that with his knowledge of land and soil, he could learn to grow grapes too.

The 250-acre virgin property he bought is located on Interstate 7 (the main Wine Route), 3,000 feet above sea level, on the way to Chile. And its neighbors are some well-known wineries, like Paul Hobbs’ Vina Cobos, Septima, Bodega Norton, and Catena Zapata, among others. Tony immediately installed an entirely new irrigation system, electric, and other infrastructure improvements to ensure optimal grape growing conditions. He hired a team of farmers, vintners, and winemakers. Karen thought he was crazy at first; trying to juggle two businesses on two continents. But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding.

We had the pleasure of hosting an exclusive tasting of all-Sposato wines a few weeks ago. As is our practice, Kevin tastes every wine before deciding to bring it to our shop. He told me back in August that he tasted the Sposato portfolio and was impressed with the quality-to-value ratio. Karen and Tony came personally to pour and talk about their wines. Judging by their dynamic personalities and our customers’ response, we think Sposato Family Vineyard wines are here to stay at Teller.

Currently, Sposato has released five varieties. The 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, with aromas of grapefruit, passion fruit, herbs, spices and orange blossom on the palate. The 2015 Chardonnay, full of tropical fruit, apples and peaches. The 2014 Malbec (Argentina’s signature grape), which displays intense black fruits, raspberries and violets. The 2013 Reserva Malbec, aged for 14 months in new French and American oak, with concentrated nose of raspberries, violets, blackberries and sweet spices. The mouth feel is soft with velvety tannins. And lastly, the 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, which is aged 12 months in new French and American oak, is full-bodied with classic notes of blackcurrant and plum, ending with vanilla and chocolate.

Experienced and novice oenophiles will enjoy the “drink now” younger wines, and the more complex Malbecs and Cab. The best part is, this family’s commitment, energy, and passion is precisely the profile Kevin and I support in our boutique wine shop. After all, isn’t it the people behind the wines that make for a successful product and a good story?

[Listen to Karen and Tony Sposato on Sip & Bite with the Rehoboth Foodie at 3 p.m. Saturday, October 31 on Delaware 105.9 FM.]

Catherine Hester

About the Author

co-owner of Teller Wines in Lewes, DE with her husband Kevin, is a world traveler and shares their adventures at various wineries while offering thoughts on why she and Kevin order particular wines for their customers. Learn more about the Hesters by clicking here. View all articles written by Catherine Hester

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