MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – Close to 1,000 people sniffed, sipped and purchased their favorites Saturday at the Fall Wine Festival at Mount Kisco Wines & Spirits. And 20 percent discounts just added to the festiveness of the day.
As they made their rounds of the 50 wines offered by 10 distributors, visitors were plied with free hot and cold hors d’oeuvres to complement the tastings.
Isi Albanese, owner of Mount Kisco’s Bellizzi Restaurant, was in charge of catering and offered an array of Italian specialties, including flatbread with ricotta and honey, arancini (fried rice balls with basil), buffalo mozzarella, ravioli with truffle butter and sage, sausage and peppers, plus a table groaning with 25 assorted cheeses.
Albanese came from Italy at the age of 10. “We came straight to Mount Kisco,” he said. “In Italy, my family owned a cantina that served local food and homemade wine. Many of my recipes came from my mother’s kitchen and are generations old.”
“We have this event once in the fall and once in the spring,” said John Bueti, who co-owns the wine shop with his brother, Nick. “We always get a good turnout. We carry everything, but we do specialize in Italian wines, because that’s our heritage.”
The Buetis have been in the wine business locally for 17 years. They moved into the current location on North Bedford Road about eight years ago.
People come from near and far to take advantage of the hospitality and special pricing and to try new wines.
Diana Bierman and her father, Mark, came from Suffern, about an hour’s drive. “We come every year,” she said. “My father taught me everything I know about wine. And I’m still learning.”
Mark Bierman has a wine cellar of about 1,600 bottles. “There are so many different wines and textures and flavors,” he said. “Most of them are unique, even when they come from the same grape.”
“I love wine,” South Salem's Mark Bernheimer said between tastings. “I used to be a wine salesman. I used to sell wine to John Bueti, now I’m back as a customer. He’s extremely knowledgeable, especially when it comes to Italian wines.”
“This place has the best selection,” agreed Andrew Schwartz and Stephanie Schreiber of Mount Kisco. “And they’re never intimidating when people walk in. This is the highlight of our fall season. We always look forward to it. And we always run into people we know.”