A Slow Walk In The Vineyards

Our wine aisles are already exceptionally well-stocked with choice wines from around the world. Soon, you’ll see special cases holding bottles from one of my favorite winemakers, Celani Family Vineyards in California’s Napa Valley.

Tom Celani and I go way back, but that’s not why Hiller’s will sell his wines. It’s because the quality of his wine is unparalleled and his perspective on wine is one that I share.

There is wine that you drink with dinner every night and wine you acquire to celebrate special times. In my family, there is no better reason to open a bottle of great aroma and which dances on the tongue than when I gather my three sons around a table. That is a moment of pure celebration.

I’ve learned the hard way that moments are fleeting; we must take nothing for granted. I cherish every touch, every intimate connection.

The Celani family basks in the Napa Valley sunshine, similar as it is to their memories of quiet afternoons in Ferentino, their hometown near Rome. Generations of Celanis lingered over the table in word and in laughter, sipping from and refilling glasses of gemstone-red wine, tasting the countryside and its exquisite fingers of sunshine.

As I do with my sons, the Celani family celebrated generations of culture and ancestry. And just as I do, Tom Celani undertakes only those projects at which he can be the absolute best.

The long-held Celani family crest emboldens their estate in California’s voluptuous Vaca Mountain Range. A sailor myself, I smile when I see the coat of arms – three ships with silver masts sailing from a poplar grove over rough seas to an uncharted destination. Their story is my story is every American’s story, for most of us were new here once, seeking our fortune amid opportunity in a foreign place where anything was possible.

Vincenzo Celani came to America in 1912. He settled in Detroit and raised a family. By the 1960s, his grandson, Tom, began cultivating a love of wine, assisting his grandfather in making table wine for the family to drink.

By the 1980s, Tom was a serious wine collector, incubating a desire to produce Italy-quality wines in American soil.

Strolling between rows of Celani grapevines is like walking along Tuscany’s golden hills. Seventeen acres of vineyards and 120 olive trees bask in cool, fragrant nights of absolute dark and gorgeous starlight.

Just as operating grocery stores is for me a pursuit to fulfill people’s food desires, Tom Celani makes excellent wine because he wants to surpass everyday desires. He doesn’t care how many bottles of his superb chardonnay, merlot and cabernet sauvignon are uncorked each year as long as they leave a lasting impression on those who consume them.

The word “ardore” means passion in Italian, a fitting name for Celani’s best vintage. We are all in search of a life’s passion – be it true love with another or a calling to do work meaningful and far-reaching. Ardore represents Tom’s intense desire to produce something wonderful and in doing so, touch people in everlasting ways. I couldn’t be more thrilled to sell his wines at Hiller’s.


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