Link To Guest Website:

Title: “The Story Of Three Families Coming Together To Produce Great Wine”
Guest: Al DeNapoli – Debevino Winery
Interviewer: Jeffrey Davis – MAGE LLC

Click here to read the transcript
Jeffrey (1s):
Hello, everybody. Welcome back to Radio Entrepreneurs. And we continue to stream stories every day about entrepreneurship and business. And you know, this next story and almost start, it started a generation ago. And for me, it only started probably about 15 years ago because I’ve known Al DeNapoli the person in our screen since we were both co-founders of the family business association. But we’re not here to talk about the family business association, maybe a little bit. And we’re not here to talk about the law. We’re here to talk about Debevino Winery. Welcome Al.

Al (37s):
Hey, welcome, Jeff. Good to see you.

Jeffrey (39s):
So is that if I may say so, thank you very much, but Debevino Winery, this is from one of Boston’s leading litigators. How, what a pivot is that, you know,

Al (53s):
We all ready to go in any direction as possible. People always say to me at the winery, oh, so you realize your dream. I always tell them, I didn’t realize this was my dream. My dream was to be in a lounge chair on the beach, over the nice book and a, a beer at this point. But you know, the story goes back and it kind of led to this. Some of my cousins, some of our customers say it seemed something inevitable that this was going to happen and feel like I’d give you some of the background of the story. Love the story out. So the Debevino Winery is made up of three families. We blended names together 20 years ago, never knew.

Al (1m 35s):
And we were going to be able to do this in a winery. We were bringing jugs of homemade wine to parties, and people would say, who made that wine? And we said, we did. Why don’t you put your name on it? So we’re just going to put DiNapoli Bevilacqua in our penal. That’s we families. We figure we blend the names together, which my cousin did one night with a Scrabble set, putting all that and letters together and came up with De-Bev-Ino. De in Italian means off Bev is kind of a, a word that the root of beverage and other things that mean drink.

Al (2m 16s):
Their name is , which means drink water. And then my cousin Dharma Pino gave us the INO and we could make a drink of wine out of a combined names. And the families, the three families go back to Avellino in Italy, where my father and the bevel act father came from the same little town called toad and the cello turn. The Chelan means town of the nuts. We think our parents would probably be looking down at us now and say what a bunch of nuts, but it basically means the nuts of the hazelnut trees that were in the valley. So we all came from Avellino. They came to Rosindale. When they immigrated to the United States, they brought winemaking equipment in the skill of making wine.

Al (3m 2s):
What they didn’t have is cheap labor, but once they had kids, they put us to work. As soon as we could pick up 36 pounds of grapes and help them make wine in the basement. And then when they stopped doing it, we continued and little did we know after 40 plus years of making wine in the basement, we would end up opening a winery in January, 2020.

Jeffrey (3m 27s):
And how are you doing your sales

Al (3m 30s):
Sales? Because of the typical, the, the specific wine and alcohol license we have, it’s called a farm winery license. It’s a license that you need to get both from the federal government and that municipality and the state. And it allows you only to sell the wine you make. So we sell it just onsite at the winery and we can sell it. People coming in for tastings, they can buy glasses of wine, and then they can leave with bottles and cases of wine if they would like, wow. Yeah. So

Jeffrey (4m 6s):
Do you, do you, do you hang up your litigator apparel and work on the weekends in the winery?

Al (4m 14s):
Yes, I do. Last weekend. I was off from the winery. So that was nice. Get to spend some time with the family and doing some litigation work the aside too during the weekend. But yeah, this seems to be able to work out. Okay. It’s, it’s busy out there. It’d be busy in the harvest time when, where the grapes come in and the grapes come in from directly from our source of grapes. Since Susan valley in California, Susan valley is a little Southeast of Napa valley, a premium area for growing grapes. And we source all our grapes from there. They shipped the red grapes in sometime in September, maybe late August.

Al (4m 57s):
Sometimes later, early October, they shipped them into Boston. We, we are there to, to accept them and squeeze them and then having ferment. And then we crushed the rest of the juice out of them and have it sit on fermentation tanks until about a year later, during that time, we were always working with it to get the taste

Jeffrey (5m 22s):
Well, I’m going to blend a couple of stories together. Some our listeners know some are don’t. You were also a school teacher before you were an attorney. And you mentioned nuts into the school teacher about you. You’ve now worked with attorneys in a law firm for many years, and now you’re working with family two different types of nuts. Is it a big transition?

2 (5m 45s):
Yeah. You know, you and I,

Al (5m 46s):
Jeff spent many years in the family business association, you know, working with families to try to help them to the difficulty of balancing both a business and a family. One by by themselves is difficult. And then you put the two of them together. It complicates more than twofold if you will. But I’ve really been able to use some of the skills that I learned from in the family business association, in, in the legal world to work together with my best friends, my family, my four partners here to make it go smoothly. And it has, there’s no, no doubt about it.

Al (6m 28s):
When it kind of business and family group will get together. There’s, you know, five different opinions. Some people say two lawyers whom you have four different opinions. So maybe I am more than one, but we all have opinions of how to do things, but we have all been able to put our egos aside and basically just work collaboratively kind of on a funniest thing. It’s like from the beginning, because of talking about families, children are involved and you know, one of the smartest things we did though, one of the most difficult things is when we first started at children’s said to us, okay, you guys know how to make wine. You guys know how to talk to people and socialize, but dads, you have no taste whatsoever.

Al (7m 13s):
Look at the way you dress. So it’s a matter of the way I dress. We have to address you get out of the way we’re going to design the architect and the building. We’re going to design the logo. We’re going to design the labels. We’re going to do the website. We’re going to do the social media. You guys know now, and you’re going to kill it. If you try to touch this stuff, it was difficult to give up that touch of how we wanted things to look. But we, again put out you guys aside and said, you know, they’re probably right. We stepped aside. My son’s an architect. He designed the whole inside and the patio rich Bevilacqua. His daughter is a graphic designer. She did the logo. She did the labels on the bottles.

Al (7m 54s):
Here’s an example

Jeffrey (7m 55s):
Of one of the beautiful vital

Al (7m 58s):
Label. She did the website and my daughter, Maria does all the social media. We have a number of our children, ourselves serving wine to our guests in a way is a bartenders at the winery. So, and our wives are involved too. So it’s been a real family affair. Been interesting. It

Jeffrey (8m 20s):
Sounds like, you know, a dozen people, at least

Al (8m 24s):
It is, it is, it is. But yeah,

Jeffrey (8m 27s):
You serving, are you serving food with the wine?

Al (8m 30s):
Yes. You know, probably one of the things that came out of the pandemic was the governor’s order that if you just were serving alcohol, you were considered a bar and you couldn’t open until stage four of the, one of that. But we had food. We had we’ll make Chuck cutaways. We make like an antipasto and we also have a Mediterranean and a, a veggie with hummus and veggies. We don’t make the homicide solves, but we, we buy it and we bring it in, put it together. We’re branching out. We have some food trucks that have come in. We have a chef that we have associated with from midfield.

Al (9m 14s):
Who’s come in and get pairings of food with wine. We have a gentleman who did made Paez onsite and we add a combination of paella and wine. So we, we have a lot of different things going on at the winery relative to food. And not only wine, we have music from time to time, more and more as the, as the year progresses as so only second summer season. If you will, last year because of the pandemic, we didn’t really even open a patio until this weekend, June 21st. So we’re ahead of the game. We opened in April 15th this year, and we have more than doubled our patio.

Al (9m 56s):
We bought a tent this year, the tent can fit about 50 people in it. It’s right at the front of the patio. It’s all lit. We have a nice setting. I think we probably can fit about 150 people in the whole patio area for was jam packed

Jeffrey (10m 13s):
And a nice relaxing break with a little glass of wine,

Al (10m 16s):
Nothing like it. Yeah. And people, people seem to really enjoy the wine. We have. We are not only serving, you know, none of us were in a business. You know, I’m, I’m a litigation attorney. I never really ran a business. My other cousins and engineer. And another one was a, a, a journalist who worked for a number of companies doing internal communication. And then my other two cousins, they ran small business units of telephone companies. So they had a little bit of a sense of putting together budgets and stuff like that. But it’s, it’s brand new.

Al (10m 57s):
It’s brand new, all of us. So as I tell people, we’re making it up as we go along and then Chloe Coleman came along of course, and really say, okay, now you’re really gonna make it up as you go along. And we did, we, we kept everyone safe. Both our customers and ourselves will, up-skill giving them what they wanted. And you know, we were on the right side of it now.

Jeffrey (11m 19s):
Well, you know, I think you’re going to have to twist our producer Nathan’s arm to do a remote. We haven’t done one since before COVID at your winery and do a show there. You tell

Al (11m 29s):
Me how to grab his arm and twist it. I’ll be glad to do it. I think no one will be disappointed. Not only do we have great wines, if I may say so myself, because of the source of the grapes from premier region, we know how to make wine. We also have what has become a hit during, especially during the summer, our wine slushies.

Jeffrey (11m 52s):
Maybe we’ll have to have of our reporters meetings at your winery and invite the infamous mark Furhman to the, to the meeting. And it can have him speak as well.

Al (12m 2s):
Isn’t he a co-host sometimes with you on

Jeffrey (12m 5s):
The show, longest standing reporter. Okay. So we just turned the mic on and we just sit back mark. Once mark gets going, if you just turn it off after 12 to 15 minutes. Wow. Well, I interview with mark. He was talking about depositions and litigation for entrepreneurship and what a pain that is. So, but again, Al great having you on the show. If somebody is looking for you in the winery, how do they find you? They can find

Al (12m 36s): Pretty easy to just find our website up there. The telephone number is there. We have an email And I think all the information that people really need to know is on the, on the We’re located right on route one in Walpole, white, probably about a mile and a half north of Gillette stadium on the south side of loop one, can’t miss it. Like I said, we have a big patio area. People come in, relax, have some wine.

Al (13m 17s):
I have a little something to eat and enjoy the festivities.

Jeffrey (13m 20s):
And I knowing you for as long as I have, you must be a great host that creates a great atmosphere. I want to thank for being on the show today, Al and I’ll leave it all in your hands and Nathan’s hands to see what we’re doing next, but I look forward to it and I know somebody in my house is going to want to come with me.

Al (13m 39s):
Well, please bring her. And I think you, you all enjoy it. I look forward to it to Jeff, right?

Jeffrey (13m 45s):
Remind everybody, this is Radio Entrepreneurs and don’t miss take a look at what else is doing. If he’s doing it, he’s doing it as well. I know that. So thank you very much. And remind everybody, this is Radio Entrepreneurs.

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