Lou Carrozzino’s fascination with wine began when he was 16 years old, but it took time to perfect the winemaking craft.
“It was error and error,” Carrozzino joked from his tasting room at Vino By Zzino, which opened at 1410 Fels Road in Quakertown in July. “The key to making good wine is making a lot of bad wine along the way.”
In the decades since he began learning from elders in his South Jersey homestead, Carrozzino has retired from his career as a mechanic to take his love of winemaking full-time. In 2014, after beginning to make wine professionally the year before, Carrozzino set up his business as an LLC.
“This was my retirement project,” Carrozzino said from his former barn-turned-tasting room accented by ornate bistro tables and wine décor. “I just want to be able to not have a real job and not have to worry about it.”
He had planned to open a tasting room adjacent to his Quakertown home and 2-acre property in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic “was the ultimate monkey wrench,” according to the winemaker.
Vino By Zzino is the newest member of the Bucks County Wine Trail, a nonprofit organization. Owned by Lou and Cheryl Carrozzino – the latter half of their last name deriving the “Zzino” – the winery is one of seven family-owned wineries along the Bucks County Wine Trail.
Carrozzino purchases wine grapes from established vineyards in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, and Chile to make the winery’s seven wine varieties, which include four white and three reds. He would like to buy grapes from South Africa too. Buying grapes from other countries “gives us a whole second season” of winemaking, he said.
In all, Carrozzino makes about 3,000 gallons per year.
“We’re little,” he said. “We want to stay little.”
In addition to a variety of sweet, semi-sweet and dry wines available by the glass or bottle, Vino By Zzino offers tastes for every palate, including three beers on tap from Bucks County Brewers and wine slushies (in season).
The winery can host bachelorette parties, bridal showers, and other special occasions for up to about 40 people. Regular events such as paint and sips, as well as trivia and bingo nights on alternating Fridays are also popular.
Guests can enjoy the ambiance of the winery from the charming 16×24 tasting room or take in the outdoor scenery from one of the picnic tables or from within the heated tent, which is equipped with a makeshift stage and plenty of seating. A bonus to outdoor festivities: Goats and chickens frolic nearby. Lawn games such as connect four, Jenga and cornhole make for a kid (and dog) friendly experience.
Meeting the community has been a rewarding experience and one Carrozzino hopes to continue in the years ahead.
“This is the greatest job I ever had,” he said.
To learn more about Vino By Zzino, visit https://www.vinobyzzino.com/ or call 610-349-6311