|Staten Island from Brooklyn over Verrazano Narrows Bridge|
A prominent businessman on Staten Island (officially called Richmond County) has revealed plans to produce wine from grapes grown on the island, utilizing imported vines.
“Forty percent of the population is Italian on Staten Island. We drink a lot of wine here,” Richard Nicotra, owner of The Nicotra Group, a major developer, said in an interview with CBS2. “We are sophisticated, educated, classy people.”
Staten Island is the third largest of New York City's five boroughs but the smallest in terms of population.
The vineyard idea is part of Nicotra's planned $20 million office complex in Bloomfield on the island's West Shore, where he will develop a vineyard on a two-acre site and on the roof of the building.
“We are going to transport a vineyard from Tuscany to Staten Island,” making wine that will be “probably a little bitter, probably a little bold, like all the people here.”
Plans call for doing the first planting next summer, part of a two-year project. Nicotra said all profits will benefit various Staten Island charities.
The to-be-named project will not be the county's first winery, however. The Staten Island Winery, founded and owned by winemaker Bob Rando, makes wine from grapes he purchases from California growers. It is located at 106 Wakefield Avenue #A. Phone: 718-494-9463. (Rando also is the winemaker at the Boston Winery in Boston, MA.) In addition, small-scale winemaking is done by individuals with purchased grapes at the Vino Divino School of Wine, 42 Industrial Loop. Phone: 718-227-9463.