From Fiore Winery:
The 25th anniversary of Fiore winery in Harford County will be celebrated in 2011. But the true story of Fiore winery begins much earlier. Mike and Rose Fiore were born in southern Italy to families that have extensive histories of wine making that can be traced back for hundreds of years over numerous generations.
Mike learned to make wine as a child from his grandfather Gustavo Lento. He became a recognized Cellar Master at the age of 17. He studied viticulture and oenology at the University of Florence before migrating to America. He met Rose in Boston while visiting family, shortly after they were married and moved to Maryland. In 1975 they purchased a 14 acre horse farm in the northern Harford county town of Pylesville, overlooking the beautiful Graceton valley.
A year later they began planting grape vines and making wine for friends and family. Mike said “at the time I couldn’t afford to drink the wines I liked and couldn’t drink the wines I could afford”. It was the response to those wines that encouraged them to open a winery that produced wines that were not only good but affordable.
The winery opened commercially in 1986 while both held down full time jobs. Mike as a technician at the Baltimore Gas & Electric Company and Rose managing the 1st National bank in Edgewood. Their first year’s production was 1,500 gallons of wine. They made just two wines a red and a white. Today 25 years later they make, over 20 different wines and have produce as much as 25,000 to 40,000 gallons a year depending on the harvest conditions.
Many things have changed in the Maryland wine industry over the past 25 years. When the winery opened there were just 11 other wineries in the state. As one of the original pioneers of the Maryland wine industry they have watched it grown to over 40 wineries, with more on the way.
Over the years the winery as a business has had some proud accomplishments, in 2000 they was awarded “The Harford Award” from the Harford County Chamber of Commerce. In 2003 the Maryland Chamber of Commerce named Fiore Winery Maryland’s small business of the year.
The wines and the wine maker Mike Fiore have developed quite the acclaimed reputation, continuously winning medals at international competitions. Locally twice winning The Governor’s Cup first in 1997 with their 95 Chambourcin and recently in 2010 with their 07 Sangiovese.
Mike’s adventurous spirit continues, in 2008 as Maryland’s first winery/distillery they began making distilled products such as Limoncello and Grappa from their Fiore Distillery.
On any given day if the weather is right you can find people spread all over the gardens and vineyard, enjoying a family picnic or sitting on the patio taking in the scenery of the vineyard. “This is what we encourage” Rose says If you want privacy don’t go into this business”. The vineyards grounds have also been host to countless weddings throughout the 25 years. “Many of those couples are our most loyal customers and return often on their anniversaries” Rose added.
To mark this milestone Fiore winery will bring back an old favorite, that they stopped making a few years back the Vignoles. This is the first wine made by Mike and Rose’s grandson Tony Fiore who has been an apprentice winemaker under Mike just as Mike was with his grandfather. This special wine will have a 25th anniversary sticker and will be in limited release, available at the winery’s tasting room and winery events.
On father’s day June 19 they will be having an Italian themed day including authentic music and food to celebrate the anniversary. The silver commemoration will also be a highlight at the Fiore Wine Art and Jazz Festival held August 20th and 21st.