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Louis Caracciolo

HQ Phone: (609) 588-0085

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Garden State Wine Growers Association

P.O. Box 386

Cream Ridge, New Jersey 08514

United States

Company Description

The Garden State Wine Growers Association is a nonprofit membership organization aimed at supporting and promoting the New Jersey wine industry. If you are interested in our organization's participation in an upcoming event, please send a detailed email t ... more

Find other employees at this company (2)

Background Information

Employment History


Amalthea Cellars


Board Member
New Jersey Travel Industry Association


Pratt Institute

Web References (44 Total References)

NJTIA | Board of Directors / Founding Members [cached]

Louis Caracciolo President Garden State Wine Growers Association P.O. Box 2631 Hamilton Square NJ 08690 Phone: 609-588-0085

In 1976, Louis Caracciolo ... [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.
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?
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.
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.
Caracciolo is "doing all the right things in terms of cutting back on yields and taking it very seriously. He's a legitimate winemaker."
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.
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.

Welcome to Biz4NJ :: Manager Call [cached]

To save the satellite tasting rooms-and the New Jersey wine industry itself-members of the Garden State Wine Growers Association, led by their President Louis Caraciollo, propose a remedy: Legalize direct shipping.

Biz4nj - Cover Story [cached]

To save the satellite tasting rooms-and the New Jersey wine industry itself-members of the Garden State Wine Growers Association, led by their President Louis Caraciollo, propose a remedy: Legalize direct shipping.

Welcome to Biz4NJ :: About Us [cached]

To save the satellite tasting rooms-and the New Jersey wine industry itself-members of the Garden State Wine Growers Association, led by their President Louis Caraciollo, propose a remedy: Legalize direct shipping.

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