Last Sunday I attended a wonderfully put together blogger event where local CT and MA bloggers got together, chatted over lite bites from Lazy Hen Catering Co. and did some wine tasting. One of the hosts was Christina Musto from Musto Wine Grape Company and let me tell you, this . girl . knows . her . wine.
I am so guilty of watching “Somm” one too many times on Netflix. So of course when I met a sommelier in person I wanted to pick her brain and ask a million questions because I secretly wish I was a somm. She shared the story of Musto Wine Grape Co. all the way from the beginning.
Q: tell me about the family history and the story behind Musto Wine Grape Co.
Christina: My great grandfather came over from Italy and started a small produce company out of he back of his truck. Then my grandfather took the produce company to another level, starting the Meriden Produce Market, then moving to the Hartford Regional Market. He then started bringing in wine grapes to help boost a slow time of year for them. He brought in only two types of grapes, one red and one white. They came via rail cars that weren’t refrigerated at the time because refrigerated trucks didn’t even exist yet. They put a ton of ice on top of boxes of grapes and as a kid my dad used to have to take an ice pick to the top of pallets to get all the blocks of ice off so that they could unload the rail cars by hand.
Q: you mentioned your family has a vineyards right outside of Napa (umm what!? so jealous) what is that like?
Christina: Well, we had a lot of customers put their favorite bottle of Napa Valley Cabernet on our desks and say “Help me make this wine.” Our customers palates had grown more complex over the years. So we purchased our own vineyards in Suisun Valley (right outside of Napa.) Chuck Wagner of Caymus Vineyards in Napa just planted next to our Cabernet vineyard. Being able to own our own high quality veinyards has given us the ability to provide consistent quality to our customers year after year. Our customers have seen quality improvements made every year by all of our growers at this point which we are very proud of.
Q: Do you offer any classes locally in Hartford?
Christina: Yes, we’ve added free classes every month, seminars and hands on winemaking classes to help facilitate people’s winemaking skills
You can shop Musto Wine Grape Co. for all your wine making needs. They sell grapes, juices, kits and much more!
Christina has even founded Women Winemakers of Connecticut, which is a collaborative environment for women in the New England wine industry. How cool is that?!