Bruno & George Wines
Bruno & George Wines
400 Messina Rd
Sour Lake, Texas
Contact: Misha Bruno
It begins in 1902 in a house on Garibaldi Street in Salaparuta, Sicily when Rocco Bruno kissed his wife Rosa goodbye and took his two young sons (14 year old Joseph and 12 year old Salvatore), boarded a ship in Palermo, and sailed toward a dream in America. Arriving in New Orleans they were met by relatives from New Jersey and found work in the Pennsylvania coal mines and the Kansas City Southern & Rock Island Railroad.Eventually their father Rocco returned home to retrieve the rest of the family but upon arrival discovered that his wife could not be persuaded to leave Sicily, so he never returned to America.
The brothers made their way south to Louisiana and worked in the saw mills, as many immigrants did, until they heard of the wonderful job opportunities in the newly developed oil fields and refineries of Texas. Young Salvatore found work with The Texas Company in Port Arthur and his older brother Joseph with The Gulf Oil Corporation and their lives in Texas were established. Salvatore soon met and married fellow immigrant Mary Mondello and added 3 sons and 6 daughters to the union. He worked hard in his new country and became an American citizen in 1944.
Throughout his life his great passions were his family and the tradition of making the raisin wine he brought from Sicily. He always had wine ready for the holidays to share with family and friends and it was a great favorite in the Italian community.
He passed his winemaking skills to his sons Nick and Joe before his death in 1963.
In 1996 the torch was passed to his grandson Shawn Bruno. Shawn learned, along with his wife Misha, how to make the family wine from his uncles, Joe and Nick. After a couple of years of making wine they decided to turn this tradition into a business. After inquiring with the BATF and TABC about permits Shawn discovered that, due to an old statute on the books in Texas, it was illegal to make and market wine made from dried fruit or raisins.
Not being one to quit, Shawn set out to change the laws in the state! With the help of his brother, Rocky, they began their lobbying efforts. They succeeded in 1999 when the 76th Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 1676 which removed dried grapes, dried fruit or dried berries from the list of prohibited items in Section 101.65 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code and Governor George W. Bush signed it into law.
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