Vino File: Via Vecchia Winery
On a Wednesday night in a Powell basement - ahem, winery - Michael Elmer, Marty Huster and Paolo Rosi are bottling the fruits of their labor.
Rosi hooks each bottle to a filling machine before passing it to Elmer, who plunges in a cork. The foil seal is then pressed into place before Huster carefully affixes the bottle's label.
The group has been producing wine for their Via Vecchia label since 2006, starting with whole grapes trucked in each fall from California and eventually ending up in Whole Foods, Nationwide Arena suites and other retailers and restaurants.
Four wines, all reds, are in the lineup right now. Via Vecchia is in demand, Elmer said, because the wine is cleaner-tasting - and has fewer sulfites - than most commercially produced wine.
"We'll have people who get addicted to our wine," he said. "And then they'll to go a party, and our wine's not there, and they actually notice how chemically enhanced the [other] wines are."
In fact, Via Vecchia translates to "the old way," the winery's slogan.
The group of friends is self-taught - although Rosi learned some tricks of the trade from his father - and hold down unrelated day jobs.
Sometime this year, the winery expects to relocate to a Downtown location that will give the guys both space to expand and a proper place to put on tasting events and private parties, plus to offer single-bottle sales.
Grapes: Sangiovese and pinot noir
Flavors: A light red with a cherry profile
Pairs well with: Sea scallops, seafood ravioli, potato dishes
Paolo Rosi's advice: "Even for people who don't like wine in general, it's very nice, easy."
Grapes: Sangiovese and cabernet franc
Flavors: Light- to medium-bodied red with cherry fruits and spicy tones
Pairs well with: Roasted chicken, duck, ravioli
Paolo Rosi's advice: "The 5 percent cab-franc kind of peps it up a bit, also darkens it up a bit."
Grapes: Cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot
Flavors: A smooth, Bordeaux-style blend that's full of berries and a bit of spice
Pairs well with: Garlicky pork or veggie dishes, braised lamb, steak
Paolo Rosi's advice: "If you can handle all of our others, you'll go on to this. It's drier, fuller."