Our story begins over 100 years ago in Italy with a boy named Salvatore Villari. Sal was born and raised in the beautiful coastal city of Messina, where he spent his childhood days on the family’s lemon and grape farm. The grapes were grown for wine to be enjoyed by family and close friends, thus beginning the family tradition of winemaking!
In 1910, at a mere 16 years old, this courageous young fellow boarded a ship headed to the United States. Knowing only a few English words, he landed in Philadelphia, where he took his first step – buying cattle in Lancaster, and walking them from farm to market, a 75 mile trek to Philadelphia! He kept at it until 1925, when he had enough saved to buy his own farm in Sewell, New Jersey. This 30 acre plot was perfect for Sal, who like many of his local neighbors, began to raise his own pigs – hundreds of them!
Sal later married a lovely young woman named Jennie, and they raised children of their own. Their youngest son, Joseph (Pepe), followed in his father’s footsteps, as did his children a generation later, who keep that business alive today!
That brings us to the 4th generation of Villari farmers – us! In 2010, we decided to go back to our roots to revive the grape farming tradition. We created Villari Vineyards right here on Sal’s original farm from 1925; land that has been sustainably owned, farmed and managed by our family for over 90 years. And just as our ancestors enjoyed the fruits of their labor with their loved ones, we invite you to enjoy the fruits of ours – a little taste of an American dream that began four generations ago.
Villari Vineyards does not currently have a tasting room, please visit us at every GSWGA wine festival.