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Florida Oenophiles

Vineyard Dreams

Paul Castronovo, 51
Radio personality / The Paul and Young Ron Show; president, co-owner / Castronovo Vineyards - Lighthouse Point


From left: Gianluca Galasso, Paul Castronovo and Eros Spinozzi. Galasso and his family run San Lorenzo Winery in Italy. Spinozzi, a wine exporter, introduced Castronovo to the Galassos.]

Paul Castronovo's path to vineyard co-owner involved a bit of serendipity: On vacation with his family in Italy last year, he was struggling to select a wine from a restaurant's list when a local man offered to help. They hit it off, and the man invited him to visit the Galasso family, owners of the San Lorenzo Winery in Abruzzo. While there, Castronovo casually remarked, "It sure would be nice to have a section of this vineyard for myself." Friendships were forged, and on the flight back to America, Castronovo's seat mate turned out to be the president of Shaw-Ross International Importers. "He knew the Galasso family," Castronovo says. Several meetings and phone calls and some friendly negotiating later, a deal was struck.

Where it's sold: Castronovo Vineyards wine is available at Crown Wine & Spirits and ABC Fine Wine & Spirits and is on the menu at restaurants such as Morton's and Joe's Stone Crab.

Man with a plan: "I wanted to offer a quality product that we were proud of but that was still affordable to my audience. Our wine retails at an average of $14.99."

His idea of a perfect Sunday: "A glass of wine, a chunk of Pecorino, a Dolphins victory followed by The Godfather and a spicy arrabbiata sauce over linguine."

Words of wisdom: "Life's too short to eat crappy food and drink bad wine."


Grapes on the vine at Castronovo Vineyards

Business and Pleasure

Jamie McDonnell, 47
Founder, CEO / Pro-Lab; CEO, American Restoration Services - Weston

Jamie McDonnell
[Photo: Dave Decoteau]

Jamie McDonnell likes to buy businesses. In addition to founding Pro-Lab, a manufacturer and distributor of home safety testing kits, and American Restoration Services, a mold remediation and restoration company, he's made a name in the retail game in south Florida. Three of the businesses he owns testify to his appreciation for fine wine: Libation the Love of Wine in Weston, That Wine Place in Pembroke Pines and the Las Olas Wine Café in Fort Lauderdale.

Price points: "We need our prices to be competitive with Total Wine, or people won't shop with us," McDonnell says, "but we also offer some hidden gems."

The name game: "A lot of people buy for the label," he says. "They see the sensual side of a wine named Ménage à Trois or Little Black Dress. We sell a ton of it."

Favorites: At home, where he has his own wine cellar, McDonnell prefers a Merus Cabernet Sauvignon. "My second choice would be Caymus."

The Art of Wine

Alan Kluger, 61
Founding partner / Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine - Miami

Alan Kluger
[Photo: Meg Pukel]

Once litigation and dispute resolution attorney Alan Kluger is out of the courtroom, he and his wife, Amy, like to enjoy the fruits of his labor — namely, grapes. Kluger's interest in wine began in the 1980s. "I have in my condo about 650 bottles stored in three ceiling-to-floor

Sub-Zeros, then probably another 480 bottles on top of that," he says. The collection is housed in a wine room, where Kluger recently installed a computer outfitted with software that alerts him before a vintage is about to spoil.

Wine appeal: "Wine collecting is a great hobby because you can spend a lot or not, and I love that. It's fun to find really great wines that are inexpensive."

Traveling man: Among other places, Kluger has wines from Bordeaux, where he was a guest of the Rothschilds at their Château Lafite; the Antinori vineyards in Tuscany; and Napa, where Francis Ford Coppola escorted him on a tour of Coppola's Rubicon vineyard.

Creating a buzz: "For the past four years, we've hosted events at our home during Art Basel," Kluger says. "We usually do an exhibit with a Latin American artist and serve South American wine, like a Malbec. For dinner parties with friends, I like to bring out the really good stuff, maybe do a vertical tasting of the premier crus from France."