How Homemade Italian-American Wine Persists in the Bronx

DIY alcohol has been ingrained in the American consciousness since before Americans were Americans. The tradition persists today with the fetishization of moonshiners and spirit brands appropriating Prohibition-era aesthetics. But the homegrown wine scene has been paid little attention. In the Bronx’s Country Club section of New York City, Italian-Americans have been making wine at home for years, though the art is fast disappearing according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Pasquale Amadio, a 77-year-old Bronx resident, is one of the few in his neighborhood who still makes homemade wine and crushes his own grapes. Of those who make DIY wine, most buy their juice for quick fermentation. Amadio, who emigrated from Abruzzi at the age of 21, buys his grapes in Connecticut, crushes them in his garage and then stores the yield in his basement. Last year, he made around 800 bottles which he shares with his friends who deem it to be “the best homemade wine” they’ve tasted. Amadio’s late wife wasn’t as keen on the stuff—she preferred Piña Coladas and champagne. [The Wall Street Journal] [Photo: Flickr/Daniel Spiess]