Meet the Winemaker-Distiller-Owner

Francesco Ciummo: an extraordinary tale of his accomplishments.

moliseI am Francesco Ciummo, the owner, winemaker, distiller, and seller of the establishment. I was born, one of five brothers, in the little town of Molise, Italy, where I worked on my family farm and vineyards. At 17 years old, I traveled to Abruzzi and learned how to graft vines.

A year later all of our vines were destroyed by [the plant louse] phylloxera, and my family was forced to replant. In 1955, at age 20, I left my family and emigrated to Belgium, where I worked in a coal mine to earn a living.

Three years later I moved to Venezuela, where I worked in Caracas for three years learning the auto body trade. In 1961, at age 26, I came to the US and found francesco-vineyardwork in an auto body shop. After working for several years, I bought a body shop in Bergenfield, NJ, and worked there until I retired at the age of 53. In 1980 I bought 135 acres in Warwick, NY, and in 1982 built my house.

10 years later, bored of retirement, a Caterpillar dozer and I started to clear the land, and I planted the vines. I had been making wine for my family for years, but in 1998 I opened the winery for the public. In 2006, I purchased distillation equipment from Germany to make my own distilled spirits. I create all the wines, liquors, and brandies I now sell. Everything we have done was with the cooperation of my beautiful wife, Orietta.

Everyone should visit Demarest Hill Winery, the beautiful place I have, one of the treasures of the Hudson Valley.

Winemaker/distiller Francesco also tends the vineyards with his nearby Deere backhoe-loader.