BALTIMORE (WJZ)—It started off a decade ago with just a few people. Now it's one of Baltimore's hottest springtime events.
Ron Matz reports its time to raise a glass for Sunday's 10th annual Highlandtown Wine Festival.
They're pouring the chardonnay for the 10th annual Highlandtown Wine Festival at the corner of Claremont and Conkling streets.
"Highlandtown is so very unique. There are so many different wine cellars that started in the 1900s in the basements of the homes in Highlandtown," said actor Vincent De Paul Zannino. "We're celebrating at the festival. We have folk music, Italian dancing. We have Vince Piscopo and Mark Disimone, who will be playing live mandolin and accordion. It's very special to have everyone come here and support it."
Vincent De Paul Zannino grew up in the shadows of the neighborhood's famous white marble steps.
"For me, Highlandtown is about heritage. It's about culture. It's about everyone coming together and supporting the community," the actor said.
Domenic Petrucci helped start the festival 10 years ago in the courtyard of Our Lady of Pompei Church, a benefit for the Highlandtown Community Association.
"The festival directly benefits the Highlandtown Community Association, which in turn donates to Our Lady of Pompei Church. We've built a convent yard. We've painted. We've cemented. We've done many things to help the area," Di Pasquale said.
"One good thing about the festival is that people will get to know about the good homemade wine. Just about everybody in Highlandtown still has a wine cellar. We keep our beautiful wines there," Petrucci said.
Di Pasquale's Marketplace will be busy, bringing a taste of Italy with a grappa maker—new this year.
"We have something new this year, the grappa maker," Di Pasquale said. "We take the musk of the wine making process and we distill it, turning it into grappa. It's an age old thing that we're going to demonstrate at the wine festival."
"How can you go wrong? Just $20 to taste some famous wines and enjoy great food from Di Pasquale's" Petrucci said.
There's more than just homemade wine here on Sunday. There's bocce ball, great Italian food and live music.
"We have people from coming from Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware trying to beat Baltimore in bocce ball, but of course we have the home field advantage," Petrucci said.
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