Rotary, Friends Share Another Wine Event Success

Winemakers and connoisseurs filled Elvins Hall at Hammonton Fire Company No. 2 Saturday evening, April 2 for the 16th Annual Hammonton Rotary Homemade Wine Event.

The competition featured 71 wines. Nearly 150 guests sniffed, swirled, and sampled before voting for their favorites. Winners were chosen by category of wine. Patrons also selected a People’s Choice Best of Show.

Before the main event, wines were reviewed and evaluated by certified judges.

On March 30, a panel of 13 certified wine judges gathered at the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 66 hall to systematically score and categorize each submission under strict criteria used by sommeliers to determine which wines were the best according to their expert standards.

The judges organized the entries into 18 categories or “flights” based on such criteria as dry vs. sweet, type of grape or fruit used, year of vintage, and the region in which the grape was grown.

The professionals named first-, second-, and some third-place winners for each flight plus a Best of Show.

  • 2022 Hammonton Rotary Wine Event
  • Rasberry wine
  • Wine fridge

At the end of the evening, Professional and People’s Choice certificates were awarded in all 18 flights. Plaques were also awarded for Best of Show People’s Choice, and Best of Show Professional Judges’ winners.

Ed Marinelli won the People’s Choice Best of Show Award for his 2021 Semi-Sweet New Jersey Concord.

Michael Ambrozaitis won the Professionals’ Best of Show for his 2021 Sweet New Jersey Peach wine.

For the 16th year in a row, the panel of experts was organized by Gary Pavlis, Ph.D., Rutgers University viticulturist.

Pavlis told the audience how much he and his fellow judges enjoy taking part in Rotary’s wine event. He expressed a deep appreciation for the passion local winemakers have for their craft and how much the quality has improved since he took part in the very first Hammonton Rotary Homemade Wine Event. He also suggested some best practices for the proper use of sulfur, deciding when a wine is dry vs. sweet, and producing wine that’s cleaner overall.

“Don (DeFiccio, the event co-chairman) always asks me, ‘would you do this again?'” he said. “For us it’s about passion, it’s about the love of wine. So we love doing this. We have 12 judges out today so we love doing this.”

Joe Fiola, a viticulture expert from the University of Maryland and a former colleague of Pavlis, agreed.

“It’s all about passion,” said Fiola as he described the heritage of winemaking in his Italian family. “It’s all about our history. It is so great to see all the people here making wines.”

Fiola had praise for the quality of wines in the Hammonton Rotary competition.

“First of all you’re making clean wines,” he said. “Everything is drinkable; everything is done well.’

He also praised the use of locally grown fruit.

“It’s that much better when you can grow the fruit and make the wine, that much more personal.”

The evening’s program included a buffet dinner by Rocco’s Townhouse, door prizes, and a 50/50.

The emcees and co-chairmen for the event were Rotarians Don DeFiccio and Jerry Daunoras.

Funds raised in excess of expenses will go toward Rotary Club of Hammonton programs and special projects, including scholarships, youth sports sponsorships, and support for our veterans and people in need.

Mark your calendar; the next Rotary Club of Hammonton Wine Event is scheduled for Saturday, March 25, 2023.

Winemakers and connoisseurs filled Elvins Hall at Hammonton Fire Company No. 2 Saturday evening, April 2 for the 16th Annual Hammonton Rotary Homemade Wine Event.

The competition featured 71 wines. Nearly 150 guests sniffed, swirled, and sampled before voting for their favorites. Winners were chosen for each category of wine. Patrons also selected a People’s Choice Best of Show.

Before the main event, wines were reviewed and evaluated by certified judges.

On March 30, a panel of 13 certified wine judges gathered at the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 66 hall to systematically score and categorize each submission under strict criteria used by sommeliers to determine which wines were the best according to their expert standards.

The judges organized the entries into 18 categories or “flights” based on such criteria as dry vs. sweet, type of grape or fruit used, year of vintage, and the region in which the grape was grown.

The professionals named first-, second-, and some third-place winners for each flight plus a Best of Show.

At the end of the evening, Professional and People’s Choice certificates were awarded in all 18 flights. Plaques were also awarded for Best of Show People’s Choice, and Best of Show Professional Judges’ winners.

Ed Marinelli won the People’s Choice Best of Show Award for his 2021 Semi-Sweet New Jersey Concord.

Michael Ambrozaitis won the Professionals’ Best of Show for his 2021 Sweet New Jersey Peach wine.

For the 16th year in a row, the panel of experts was organized by Gary Pavlis, Ph.D., Rutgers University viticulturist.

Pavlis told the audience how much he and his fellow judges enjoy taking part in Rotary’s wine event. He expressed a deep appreciation for the passion local winemakers have for their craft and how much the quality has improved since he took part in the very first Hammonton Rotary Homemade Wine Event. He also suggested some best practices for the proper use of sulfur, deciding when a wine is dry vs. sweet, and producing wine that’s cleaner overall.

“Don (DeFiccio, the event co-chairman) always asks me, ‘would you do this again?'” he said. “For us it’s about passion, it’s about the love of wine. So we love doing this. We have 12 judges out today so we love doing this.”

Joe Fiola, a viticulture expert from the University of Maryland and a former colleague of Pavlis, agreed.

“It’s all about passion,” said Fiola as he described the heritage of winemaking in his Italian family. “It’s all about our history. It is so great to see all the people here making wines.”

Fiola had praise for the quality of wines in the Hammonton Rotary competition.

“First of all you’re making clean wines,” he said. “Everything is drinkable; everything is done well.’

He also praised the use of locally grown fruit.

“It’s that much better when you can grow the fruit and make the wine, that much more personal.”

The evening’s program included a buffet dinner by Rocco’s Townhouse, door prizes, and a 50/50.

The emcees and co-chairmen for the event were Rotarians Don DeFiccio and Jerry Daunoras.

Funds raised in excess of expenses will go toward Rotary Club of Hammonton programs and special projects, including scholarships, youth sports sponsorships, and support for our veterans and people in need.

Mark your calendar; the next Rotary Club of Hammonton Wine Event is scheduled for Saturday, March 25, 2023.

CLICK HERE for a complete list of entries and category winners.