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This profile was last updated on 1/9/14  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Louis Caracciolo

Wrong Louis Caracciolo?

Owner

Amalthea Cellars
209 Vineyard Road
Atco, New Jersey 08004
United States

Company Description: Amalthea Cellars is a winery located in southern New Jersey. We offer tastings every weekend and provide a variety of wines. We also offer barrel tastings in our...   more
Background

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

Education

  • Pratt Institute
31 Total References
Web References
Amalthea Cellars - Fine Wines
www.amaltheacellars.com, 9 Jan 2014 [cached]
Louis Caracciolo, owner of Amalthea Cellars was the guest speaker and it is not often we hear the Amalthea story directly from Louis!
In 1976, Louis Caracciolo ...
www.amaltheacellars.com, 7 Dec 2012 [cached]
In 1976, Louis Caracciolo planted his first rows of wine grapes on a small Camden County farm he had purchased a few years earlier just after graduating from college. The South Jersey native was beginning a career in food science, but as a kid he loved helping his Italian grandfather make wine in the basement.
Now, he wanted to try it for himself.
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Three decades later, long after his winemaking hobby had evolved into a full-time business called Amalthea Cellars, Caracciolo had a crazy idea: Why not recreate the Paris tasting using some of his own wines?
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France, Caracciolo envisioned New Jersey versus both California and France.
"At first, it sounded outrageous," said George Taber, an author of wine books who met Caracciolo through a mutual friend.
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But Caracciolo was determined. With the help of Anthony Fisher, a New Jersey wine merchant and educator with extensive experience organizing professional tastings, Caracciolo assembled a number of legendary wines from France and California, including Stag's Leap and Chateau Montelena from the Napa Valley and Chateau Montrose and Mouton-Rothschild from Bordeaux.
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Caracciolo is "doing all the right things in terms of cutting back on yields and taking it very seriously. He's a legitimate winemaker."
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Just to prove that the results weren't a fluke, Caracciolo recreated the tasting last June. Once again, he invited about 100 tasters to participate, and once again poured his wines alongside some exorbitantly priced French and California wines. And once again, his wines showed very well.
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For Caracciolo, 59, the results were the culmination of 25 years of investment, experimentation and hard work, all driven by an early hunch: that the soils and climate of South Jersey had the potential to produce world-class wines. He had just the right combination of experience and skills to make it happen, from his Italian-American roots in rural South Jersey, to his education and research as a food scientist, to his drive and vision as an entrepreneur.
He's New Jersey's answer to the late Robert Mondavi, the father of California's modern-day wine industry.
After working on his grandfather's farm as a kid ("I grew up driving tractors"), Caracciolo enrolled at Pratt Institute in New York to study food science, which was his father's profession. Right after graduating from college in 1972, he bought a small farm in Atco and, within a few years, had planted his first wine grapes. In 1982, he obtained a state license to open a commercial winery, which he called Amalthea.
As a food scientist, Caracciolo holds a number of patents, including one for a process to clean oak barrels using ozone rather than sulfuric acid. By the 1980s, he was traveling around the world to demonstrate the process for winemakers. Among his clients was Chateau Margaux, one of only five Bordeaux estates classified as a "first growth."
While Caracciolo taught winemakers his technology, he said, they taught him about winemaking. Soon, he was applying lessons learned at Margaux and in the Napa Valley back at his winery in Camden County.
Caracciolo attributes his success as a winemaker to several techniques he has been practicing for years. First, he keeps his crop yields very low by "green pruning" in the spring. This involves lopping off tons of immature grape clusters so the vineyards produce only about 1.5 tons of mature grapes per acre. That's a fraction of the yield at many large commercial wineries. Caracciolo said lower yields translate into more concentrated grape juice and richer wine.
When the grapes are ripe, Caracciolo believes in picking by hand, which allows him to select only the healthiest clusters. And he insists on aging all of his wines in new or near new oak barrels -- an expensive commitment, considering he pays as much as $900 for a single French oak barrel.
"Most of my reds are not on the market for 2 1/2 to 3 years after they've been made," Caracciolo said.
Regardless of their quality, there's one thing about Caracciolo's wines that still makes them a tough sell beyond the winery's tasting room: They're made in New Jersey. There's no question the state's wine industry has come a long way in recent years. There are now some 35 commercial wineries in the Garden State, and Caracciolo happens to be the head of the Garden State Winegrowers Association.
But the winemakers themselves will be the first to tell you that they have a hard time getting attention, much less respect.
If anyone can change that, Caracciolo can. He plans to sponsor more comparison tastings in the near future, and next time is determined to attract the notice of the national wine media.
"I'll challenge anybody to a blind tasting," he said.
NJTIA | Board of Directors / Founding Members
www.njtia.org, 16 July 2009 [cached]
Louis Caracciolo President Garden State Wine Growers Association P.O. Box 2631 Hamilton Square NJ 08690 Phone: 609-588-0085 info@newjerseywines.com
Contact: Louis Caracciolo, ...
www.prnewswire.com, 18 June 2008 [cached]
Contact: Louis Caracciolo, Amalthea Cellars
(865) 768-8585
Welcome to Biz4NJ :: Articles
www.biz4nj.com, 7 April 2009 [cached]
Louis Caracciolo
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Amalthea's owner Louis Caracciolo (left) and tasting coordinator Anthony Fisher discuss details of the June 9th Challenge
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Amidst an onslaught of handshakes and congratulations, Louis Caracciolo, witnessed the results with a quiet, nodding approval. "No, I cannot say I was totally surprised at the outcome. I have tried most of these wines in our home and I have a feel for their level of quality," says Caracciolo.
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Caracciolo's education is a simmering of his grandfather Emilio who, brought to Brooklyn the Old World wine art, with techniques from Pratt Institute's food science studies, blended with the experiential knowledge learned from Bordeaux region masters. It produced Caracciolo's reverence for what he terms the Archaic Winemaking Method. In this procedure, the winemaker sees himself as merely the custodian of a naturally occurring process, which he aids, employing the minimum of chemical and mechanical adjustments to the final product.
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"You can get up to eight tons of fruit per acre of vines - and some wineries do," says Caracciolo.
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