Not very many people would associate Englewood with Napa Valley. You know, we don’t have any vineyards — no sloping acres of grapes basking in the sun nor palatial estates overlooking the landscape.
Well don’t tell that to John Catania Sr., who has built quite a wine business right here in Englewood at Catania Winery at 524 Paul Morris Drive.
John learned his craft from his grandfather in Sicily. The family came to America in 1962, settling in Connecticut, then to Englewood in 1968.
I didn’t know what to expect when I dropped in and saw a small building that looked nothing like a winery on the outside. But once inside, I had a totally new outlook. It took me back to what I thought a winery would look like in Italy. There were huge vats used to produce the award-winning wine. When I met John, he reminded me of someone who just came out of the fields in Sicily to sit and relax while sipping a glass of wine.
John’s wine isn’t the only offering to give you an Italian taste sensation at the Catania Winery. In fact you could almost call it a true Italian deli with offerings like homemade sausage in sweet medium and hot, peppers and onions, ricotta, Asiago and other cheeses by the pound, bread, citterio sopressata sausage — also hot and sweet — and a full selection of 20-year-old balsamic vinegar that barrel aged, and Sicilian olive oil. The olive oils are handmade from his grandfathers recipe, and John takes great pride in how they are crafted.
If you’re looking for something to help you wash down these delicacies, John takes great pride in the coffee he offers, featuring San Giorgio Espresso and Decaf Espresso, and the ever-popular coffee from Colombia, 100 percent Arabica regular and decaf, along with Kimbo Espresso coffee.
If you are a chef and looking for ways to enhance your cooking skills, John carries just about everything you can ever use to present meals or wines that will thrill any guest. There is a great selection of beer- and wine-making kits, espresso machines, and of course any instructions you might need. If you are really in to winemaking, there are fermenting machines, corkers, presses, labeling appliers and testing equipment.
Catania is quite well known in the wine industry, having been selected for the “TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence” book and featured in the Wine Tasters Guild, along with picking up many Best of Englewood Readers’ Choice Awards from the Englewood Sun.
There are many tours available and wine-tasting classes. While I was there a group came in and I saw some very satisfied customers.
John is also is available to visit groups and homeowners associations in the area to show people how winemaking is done, or to do a wine tasting class.
The phone numbers are 941-475-7553 and 941-321-9650, and the website is www.cataniaswinery.com. If you are interested in a group tour or class, I highly suggest you call ahead.