Annual picnic to honor winemakers for 'A Day of Wine & Roses' was very successful.
On the balmy evening of August 28th, members of the North Haven Rotary Club gathered with their spouses and friends to celebrate with several of the winemakers who will be competing in this year’s Day of Wine & Roses a month later on September 28th. Mark Lesage, who enlists the wine makers each year, recently said that nearly 80 people have expressed an interest in winning one of the trophies or medals awarded for the best tasting wines; so the service club wanted to express its gratitude.
From the moment first year Rotarian Al Centone cranked up the grill at 5:30, to the final clean up by the group in the cool darkness after 9:00, lively music filled the air at the Forget-Me-Not Florist on State Street, thanks to a sound system provided by Mark Minotti. Furthermore, the food and beverages were so plentiful, that menu organizer, Theresa Ranciato-Viele, said that much would be shared with the local fire department at the close of the evening.
Microphone in hand, last year’s event chairman, Nick D’Ambrosia, described how the club had greatly expanded the annual activity with the addition of a huge array of food and drink donated by the owners of local restaurants, markets, and food trucks. Due to the inclusion of high end vendors, fabulous raffle prizes, and a large silent auction, the club also expanded the location of the festivities onto the flower shop’s adjacent property, All Star Automotive. The end result was truly a boon to local charities, as the expansion tripled the event’s previous financial success.
After photographing the wine makers in attendance,  David Marchesseault, the 2014 chairman, acknowledged that he has huge shoes to fill as he thanked the crowd of over 50 people for their support. He was followed by a founder of the annual event which has been held at his shop for the past 12 years, Luigi Nuzzolillo. The generous host was called upon to address the audience about the basics of the competition, and said that while the picnic is an opportunity to review the rules for newcomers, the club truly benefits from the feedback received from the wine makers to prepare for the next year.
PHOTO: Proudly displaying a ‘Wine & Roses’ sign, John Henry Graef, Jr. was one of several wine makers honored by the North Haven Rotary Club at the annual picnic for competing winemakers.