This past month the Meetup Group called “Passion for Everything Italian” that I host visited Fulchino Vineyards, a local winery of Italian origin.
Located in Hollis, New Hampshire (about one hour from Boston), the winery is situated in a residential neighborhood. As you venture off the highway, you’d never think there is a winery situated there, but that’s part of what makes it special. To be able to drive to a local winery and sample the fruits of the land that we live on is pretty amazing. We’re so used to drinking wines from around the world, especially Europe and other parts of the United States, that to be able to drink wines from our very own backyards should be treasured. In addition to the convenience of the winery’s location, the owner and winemaker of Fulchino Vineyards, Al Fulchino, has a great Italian story to tell as well. He’ll tell you that the name Fulchino means “born to rule and sacrifice,” but make sure you get the inside story of where that actually came from (hint: it’s in the movie “A Good Year”).
Fulchino grew up in Everett, Massachusetts, where he first learned about winemaking from his grandfather. His Italian heritage dates back to the 1400s. Two brothers in the family living in Italy back in the day got into a fight and one brother headed to southern Italy and relocated in Gesualdo, Campania, where he changed his name from Fulcini to Fulchino. Fulchino’s mother is from Benevento and his grandmother from Mirabella both in Campania. Nowadays, when Fulchino and his family get together they have members from both the Fulcini and Fulchino families.In 1991, Fulchino bought the land in Hollis. He started planting 900 vines in 2007, and began selling wine two years later. Today he owns about three acres where he has 1,400 vines that produce anywhere between 22,000 and 26,000 pounds of grapes each year. The winery makes over 28 wines and we tasted a good portion of them. Most of the wines are blends and Fulchino keeps the blends’ secrets to himself, although he does boast not using insecticides within the vineyards. Among his biggest sellers is the zinfandel, that Fulchino says there is a one year wait list for.
About 85-88 percent of the grapes are actually grown on Fulchino’s property. This is always one of the things I look for when visiting wineries. It’s not as interesting to me when I’m sampling a wine that the winemaker did not take from start to finish. The grapes that he does import come from Italy, including a montepulciano from Abruzzo and lagrein from the Trentino-Alto Adige region. Everything is processed and bottled on site, in an establishment he built himself.
Fulchino’s personable, down to earth personality is very welcoming and he is proving that wine can be made in New Hampshire. “Wine is made in the vineyard and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist,” he says.
Next year, Fulchino Vineyards will be celebrating its 10th anniversary so make sure to get there and experience winemaking in the Granite State.