TICKLE YOUR TASTEBUDS: Now he's got time for wine

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via The Daily News Transcript Food and Dining RSS by Nancy Olesin/DAILY NEWS STAFF on 9/16/08

Truro Vineyards

While riding his bike through the Cape Cod town of Truro one day, Wellesley resident Dave Roberts stopped to chat with a woman who was putting her mower through its paces across the lawn.

Having vacationed in Truro for more than 50 years, Roberts was acquainted with the woman, whose house was once painted by Edward Hopper, and whom also owned the adjoining Truro Vineyards. During their conversation, she mentioned that after much thought she and her partner were interested in selling the vineyard.

The meeting was life-changing for Roberts, a Meriden, Conn., native who at the time was president of United Liquors, one of the largest beverage distributors in the country. United's owners were selling, which meant he had the chance to opt out of the business with cash in hand. He saw the winery as a logical next step in his career, and in March 2007 he purchased the 5-acre business.

Now Roberts and members of his family, which includes wife Kathy, son David Jr. a former beer brewer in Atlanta daughter-in-law Amy Roberts and daughters Kristen and Stephanie Roberts Hartung, are taking Truro Vineyards to a whole new level.

The previous owners of the winery, which had been a tourist stop on Rte. 6A in Truro for years, Roberts said, loved growing grapes but weren't so much into designing wines. With the help of winemaker Matyas Vogel, who studied viticulture and oenology in his native Hungary, Roberts recently added new winery, barrel and storage rooms and is constantly working to improve the wines and create new ones.

"The first year, there was a learning curve," Roberts said. Although he knew the marketing side of the business, he needed to learn about the growing and winemaking processes. The previous owners didn't keep a history of the wines or grapes so he sort of had to feel things out as he went.

But the "unbelievably rich" sandy soil and southern exposure on the former dairy farm proved the perfect growing conditions for the 3,500 vines. And with the purchase of grapes from other places like Westport Winery in Massachusetts, and wineries in Long Island, New York state and California, he and Vogel have been able to create some exciting wines, Roberts said.

Because it's in a tourist area, "people come in expecting a 'make-believe' winery," Roberts said, "and they leave saying 'Wow, these wines are really great."'

I recently met with Roberts at the only MetroWest restaurant where you can order Truro Vineyards' wines, C.K. Shanghai in Wellesley, where I found the 2007 chardonnay to be refreshing and delightful. While I normally wouldn't think to order wine with Chinese food, it was a great combination with the scallop and shrimp dishes we ordered.

Although C.K.'s is the only area restaurant, Truro Vineyards wines are available at 40 restaurants on the Cape and at the Top O' the Hub in Boston. And, the wines are sold in many of the area's liquor stores and wine shops, including Fifth Avenue Liquors in Framingham, Nine East Wine Emporium in Natick and Pop N' Cork in Mendon.

If you're visiting the Cape this Sunday, stop in for a winery tour and tasting or even help make the wine during the annual Grape Stomp & Jazz Festival. It's a part of a weekend of arts events called Truro Treasures. For more information about the weekend's events, go to www.trurotreasures.

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