“I saw the hills, the barn, the house and realized most of my work was done except to plant the vines and create a winery, and that’s what I did.”
– Silvio “Tony” Ciccone
Tony’s parents immigrated to this country from Pacentro, Italy at the turn of the 20th century and settled in N. Pennsylvania. Tony was raised there and is the youngest of six children of Gaetano Ciccone and Michelina Dilulio. After earning his degree at Geneva College, Tony found his way to Detroit, where he worked as an optical engineer. He and Joan lived in Rochester Hills for over 30 years where they raised their family. Tony always had a couple of rows of grapevines in the backyard, as his father had before him in Pennsylvania, and he carried on the Ciccone family tradition of making wine by hand.
Tony and Joan raised eight children and many summer vacations found them in the Traverse City and Leelanau area. As a family they shared memorable times in the area, and grew fond of the land. When Tony retired and Joan closed her business, they headed north to Michigan wine country in search of their dream, and the best place to plant grapes. In October of 1995 the land was acquired, and the following Spring the first five acres were planted by hand with Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Gewürztraminer. Tony tells stories of how he and Joan used post diggers to put in the posts, and broke three before the first two acres were planted! Fruit-forward European style wines are the result of their labor of love, and 14 varieties are offered in the tasting room, situated here on the 45th parallel, and on top of one of the most picturesque hills in Leelanau County.
This year, 2018 will be our 20th vintage. Ciccone Vineyard and Winery is among the first 10 vintners in Leelanau Peninsula; we are in good company with L.Mawby, Bel Lago, Boskydel, Willow, and Black Star Farms.
Tony and Joan are not ready to “retire” again, although their children Paula and Mario are involved in the Winery! There are some expansion plans in the works, and goals for the future…so sign up for our newsletter, and stay in touch to get our calendar of events, as well as find out “What’s New”.