Tomasello named NJ's top winery

• From the Press of Atlantic City (NJ):

HAMMONTON, NJ -- Tomasello Winery, the largest in New Jersey and the state’s Winery of the Year this year, has the kind of great entrepreneur story at its beginning often found in family-owned businesses.

Truck farmer Frank Tomasello got to know about the success of Renault Winery in Egg Harbor City when a neighbor married into that family, said Charlie Tomasello, president of the Hammonton winery.

Frank Tomasello’s homemade wine was pretty good, his grandson said, and he was already growing grapes and selling them to New York State wineries.

So as soon as Prohibition ended, Frank Tomasello got in his truck, drove through a storm storm and got in line to get one of the first winery licenses newly available -- No. 68.

Then all it took was decades of hard work, first by him and from the mid-1940s by his sons, Charles Tomasello Sr. and Jack Tomasello, to grow the business by expanding its wine selection and the outlets for it.

What it took to be named Winery of the Year for the first time this year by the Garden State Wine Growers Association was quality work and some fortunate timing, Charlie Tomasello said.

The association awards the honor based on the total score in its annual winemaking competition, so a winery can have medal-winning wines year after year but not enough to reach the top.

“When you have a really special year and have all of your wines firing at the same time, you end up with this combined score that wins you the award,” Tomasello said.

This year’s competition was very special for Tomasello Winery, which won three gold medals, five silver medals, two bronze and the Governor’s Cup for best dessert wine, its Vidal Ice Wine. The ice wine also won a gold medal, as did Tomasello’s 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and its raspberry wine.

[Go here for the remainder of the story.]

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