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Winemaking Opportunity to Support WPSU

Posted by Bianca Barr on 07/15 at 01:45 PM

Frank Trovato grew up watching his grandfather make wine in his basement. Though other family members took up the winemaking tradition, Frank went a different route.

“Frank’s more of a beer drinker,” said his wife, Maureen.

But a day spent at WPSU’s 2009 Wine Celebration put Frank on a course toward greater wine appreciation.

At the event, Frank and Maureen were the highest bidders on a unique auction item—an opportunity to create, blend, name and bottle their own wine. The final product is Trovato, a Pinot-Noir and Dornfelder blend. Trovato costs $13 and is available at Starr Hill Winery’s locations in Curwensville, St. Marys and at the Clearfield Mall. For every bottle of Trovato sold, WPSU receives $1 from the Starr Hill Winery.

The winemaking opportunity will be up for grabs again this year as part of the live auction at the Second Annual WPSU Wine Celebration. The wine tasting event will be held on Sunday, Sept. 19 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel. Tickets cost $75 at the door, or $60 in advance and can be purchased online.

Kenn Starr, who owns Starr Hill Winery, said that unlike most other auction block items, a chance to make your own wine is something that can’t just be bought in a store.

“It’s a unique thing,” he said. “And people look forward to purchasing that opportunity.”

Though Frank, Maureen and the eight friends and family members who accompanied them to the winery were not exactly wine connoisseurs - Maureen read a Wine for Dummies book on the way to the winery - Starr didn’t hold that against them.

“Kenn was welcoming and patient,” Frank said, and he helped the Trovatos explore different varieties of grapes. The Trovatos finally landed on their blend, which appeals to fans of both sweet and dry wines, Starr said, causing it to fly off of Starr Hill Winery’s shelves.

The Trovatos were involved in every aspect of the winemaking process. From naming the wine, to designing the bottles - their son-in-law Greg created the tree of life motif on the label - to filling those bottles up.

“We were actually bottlers,” Maureen said. “We washed the 500 bottles and corked them.”

For Frank and Maureen, creating Trovato was an enjoyable, eye-opening experience that resulted in a new passion.

“It gave us a chance to spend time together and develop an interest in something we didn’t know much about before,” Frank said.

Wine has now become a part of some of their most important moments. Recently, while celebrating their 29th wedding anniversary, they took the time to sample and purchase new wines. And they plan on saving a few bottles of Trovato for their daughter’s upcoming wedding.

The Trovatos enjoyed the experience so much that they are considering bidding on the item again at this year’s Wine Celebration. But competition for the item may be tough, since Frank and Maureen haven’t been shy about suggesting the opportunity to their friends.
“Everybody thinks it’s such a cool idea. They’re really interested and they ask a lot of questions,” Maureen said. “We tell them it was such fun and we encourage them to do it.”

Author: Bianca Barr
Bio: WPSU Senior Promotions Associate


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