Peter Rizzo, Owner
Peter has been around wine as long as he can remember. One of his fondest and earliest memories was accompanying his grandfather to Boston's train yards early in the fall and watch him buy newly arriving wine grapes from California. It involved walking from box car to box car and tasting different bunches, until his grandfather found exactly what he was looking for. Back then there were no refractometers to measure sugar/mineral ratios. His grandfather would simply taste the grapes and judge how easily the seeds separated from the pulp. It was nature's way of revealing whether the grape had reached optimal ripeness. This experience instilled in Peter his first wine lesson--wine can only be as good as the grapes you start with.
After a span as an amateur enthusiast/collector, Peter's journey took a leap forward when he joined some investors and became president of Massachusetts-based Silenus Wines in the early '90s. Silenus was fairly unique because it was a vertically-integrated importer, wholesale distributer, and retailer. It enabled him to get involved in all phases of the business. From picking grapes and learning to make wine in Piemonte, traveling the world buying wines and sourcing new ones, managing the logistics of transporting wine from its origin to thousands of restaurant, hotel, and retail accounts, and by educating thousands of consumers via newsletters, wine classes, and events in his stores, the Winecellars of Silene. His portfolio included Spain's Vega Sicilia, Burgundy's Coche Dury, Lebanon's Chateau Musar, Beaujolais' Marcel Lapierre & the rest of the "Gang of Four", the "Judgment of Paris" winners Stag's Leap and Chateau Montelena, Chablis' Raveneau, Australia's Henschke, & Africa's most southerly vineyard, Hamilton Russell. He also had the distinct pleasure of becoming Joe Dressner's 1st distributer outside Joe's NY base. Both the Gang of Four and Joe Dressner started Peter on his path to natural wine. Of course back then, it was just called chemical-free farming and non-interventionist winemaking.
Peter has served as a director of the New England Fine Wine Council, and as a Grand Senechal and Commandeur Officier of the Naples, Florida chapter of the Chevaliers du Tastevin. Originally from Boston, he is a graduate of Tufts College and Harvard Business School. He and his wife now happily reside in Naples, FL but thoroughly enjoy visiting daughters in NYC, where good food and healthy wines are around every corner. Peter is working to encourage that model for SW Florida.