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Cantina Bostonia
30A Germania Street
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

617-522-7595
617-522-7596 fax

Email
rudy@cantinabostonia.com

 

 

Cantina Bostonia - To Your Health! from French Oak TV on Vimeo.

 

Winery

Winemaker blends his Old World training with a new age palate, and corks the result.

Cantina Bostonia red wines prices at less than $10 a bottle, started appearing in area liquor and grocery stores, adding a Boston presence to shelves dominated by California wines and imports. It's produced and bottled on Germania Street in Jamaica Plain, inside the same old brewery complex where the Boston Beer Company makes Samuel Adams beer -- though winemaker Rodolfo Canale operates on a smaller, more personal scale.

"It started as a hobby," Canale says sitting at his desk inside the redbrick complex. Washed grapes dry on a tray. Others, already ground to a pulp and giving off a pungent aroma, ferment in large plastic barrels, while inside his walk-in cooler, wine ages in oak barrels. Nearby sit empty bottles, a bag of corks, and other winemaking necessities.

Canale spent about seven years making small batches of wine for his personal consumption before launching "Cantina Bostonia," Italian for Boston wine cellar. He gets the grapes from California and the know-how from Italy, where he grew up making wine with his father every autumn. But Canale, who immigrated to the Boston area in 1977 to study macrobiotic cooking, has put a modern spin on his product.

He's marketing it to health-conscioius consumers who share his suspicion of the sulfites and other additives most commercial winemakers use to control fermentation. "When I discovered macrobiotic cooking, I wanted to let everyone know. Now, I want them to know about wine made without sulfites," says Canale.

He boasts that his Merlot, Zinfandel and red table wines are composed of "100 percent grapes" in contrast to most commercial wines that add small quantities of chemical and yeasts. While commercial winemakers and even some wine hobbyists say that the additives are essential to product wine of consistent quality, purists like Canale say the additives spoil the wine's flavor and could be unhealthful.

He so disliked the additives used in commercial wines, Canale says, he gave up wine after moving to Boston and only resumed drinking the libation after an uncle in Italy gave him a few bottles made at home. The experience changed his life. "I didn't drink wine for 15 years. Then I realized the only reason I didn't drink wine was that I didn't trust what put in it. So I decided to make my own," says Canale, who has been a vegetarian since he served an obligatory year in the Italian army as a young man. After his discharge, he opened a macrobiotic restaurant in his hometown before leaving Italy to study cooking.

Anthony Silvestro, owner of American Winegrape Distribution Inc., an Everett supplier of grapes and winemaking equipment, says Canale's operation is one of only a few commercial wineries in Massachusetts. Silvestro and Fran Ruggiero, manager of Chauncy Liquor Mart in the Eqleston Square area, say they had heard of a few other Massachusetts winery operations, including wines made from grapes grown on Cape Cod, but no other Boston-based winery.

Ruggiero says the local address is one reason he decided to stock Canale's wine. "I think it's a very good wine. And I like the fact that it's made in Jamaica Plain," says Ruggiero, who says several customers have shown surprise to learn the bottles he sells for $6.99 and $9.99 apiece were corked in the neighborhood. The brand is on sale at other neighborhood liquor stores and the Harvest Food Cooperative grocery stores in Cambridge and Jamaica Plain, according to Canale, who says he is focused on improving his wines and hopes the market will develop along with his brand's reputation.

Denis Ingham, manager at the Harvest store in Cambridge, says he was skeptical when they first started carrying the wine. " My first thought was, where is there a winery in Boston?" He also says he hasn't heard of any other Boston-made wines. "We carry alot of produce grown locally. We carry a lot of breads and brownies made in Massachusetts but no wines," says Ingham, who sells about a case of 12 bottles of the wine a week. Established brands can sell a dozen or more cases a week, he says. But sales volume isn't everything, according to Canale. "If you make it for yourself, you are going to observe all those serious details," he says. You just have to be an artist in a way.

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Address: 30 Germania Street # A, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
 

 

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