“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 is first generation American after his parents immigrated to Pennsylvania from Pacentro, Italy. He earned his degree from Geneva College and then found his way to Detroit, where he worked as an optical engineer. He and his wife Joan lived in Rochester Hills for over 30 years where they raised their family (8 children). 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.
When Tony retired and Joan closed her business, they headed north to 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.
The tradition has now passed down to his son Mario and daughter Paula. Mario is the Vineyard Manager and tends to the vines while Paula worked under Tony and is now our Wine Maker. Mario has worked in the vineyard for many years and has learned how to produce the best grapes for Paula to turn into wine. Paula has studied and worked hard to produce many award-winning wines. She is one of only two female wine makers in Leelanau County and she continues to impress us all.
Ciccone Vineyard and Winery is among the first 10 wineries in Leelanau Peninsula; we are in good company with L.Mawby, Bel Lago, Boskydel, Willow, and Black Star Farms.