The winery’s history, however, dates further back than 2001.
In 1911, Raphael Narcisi and his two brothers immigrated to the United States from Italy. A passion for wine traveled with Raphael and passed through the family, until Dennis Narcisi, Raphael’s great nephew, along with his wife and son, turned this passion into Narcisi Winery.
Today, the vineyard — crowned winner of three categories in this year’s Best of Pittsburgh readers’ poll — produces around 175,000 bottles of wine a year, has a full restaurant with an expansive outdoor area, and offers tours and tastings.
Only two of the grape varietals used to make Narcisi’s wine, frontenac and vidal blanc, are grown on the winery’s property; the rest they source from other regions of Pennsylvania and the Lake Erie American Viticultural Area. Roberto Smiraglio, director of operations for the vineyard, says there are a few key differences that set their wine apart from those made in warmer climates.
Northern-grown grapes are typically less ripe and lower in sugar content than grapes grown in a warmer climate, leading to wines that are acidic and tart. This is why, Smiraglio explains, Pa.-made wines tend to be white.
All of the Narcisi wines are crafted from a mix of old-world traditions and modern technology. They use natural methods of winemaking to keep the true character of the grape intact.
Narcisi bottles everything from a sweet, refreshing riesling to a full-bodied cabernet sauvignon. Smiraglio says the Stella, a dry red blend, is by far their most popular red, with the Chardonnay — unoaked — and riesling, which Smiraglio says is off-dry, favored from their whites. Their black raspberry and peach wines (the fruit is blended with a grape wine base) are in high demand in the warmer months.
Narcisi Vineyard wines can be found outside of their Gibsonia home (which is just 30 minutes north of Pittsburgh) at Giant Eagle and other retailers, or by the glass and bottle at many local restaurants.
Narcisi Winery. 4578 Gibsonia Road, Gibsonia. Narcisiwinery.com