The Spero Winery Story
In 1996 Clyde’s wife, June, inherited some land on North Washington Street. Clyde decided to plant grapevines in this plot of land, and, of course, once you have planted grapes, you then need a winery. The Spero Vineyard was just north of another vineyard at the corner of 66th and Washington. It was just next to J & J Storage.
Although it was much smaller than the vineyards on the Western slope, it was at least convenient for Denverites to visit and get a feel for the viticultural process. The first harvest for the vineyard was the fall of the millennium (i.e. 2000), an auspicious date indeed, for the beginning of a new venture. Unfortunately, the vineyard no longer exists, but it was a fun experiment while it lasted.
Clyde Spero has been making wine his entire life. He learned the art from his father, Gaetano Spero. Clyde’s father came to America at the tender age of 13; his traveling companions were two friends from his hometown of Potenza, Italy, who were also in their early teens. The three friends traveled half way around the world with no parents or adults and not knowing a word of the new language they would encounter in America. Gaetano had the equivalent of about $5 in his pocket when he arrived in New York and headed West to join some relatives in Colorado. He found work in the coal mines in Southern Colorado.
As Gaetano made his way in the new world, he took advantage of the opportunities that his newly adopted country had to offer, and he bought land as soon as he could, so that he could continue the time-honored profession in his family of being a farmer. He did not, however, forget his roots in his homeland, and he carried on many of the traditions of his family in the “old country.” One tradition was the making of wine every fall for the family to drink throughout the year. Gaetano’s son, Clyde continued this tradition all his adult life, using the techniques that he had learned from his father.
When Clyde planted a vineyard, the next logical step was to begin a winery to use the grapes harvested from the small urban vineyard. Thus, in 1999, Clyde began to make wine in the tradition of his father, but for people other than his family to enjoy.
Because the vineyard was quite small, it did not provide enough grapes for the full production for Spero Winery. As a result, Spero winery does purchase grapes from the Western slope (Palisade and Grand Junction), Pueblo and from Lodi, California, where one of June’s cousins has a vineyard.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Clyde and June have tried to keep the family traditions alive. As already mentioned, a cousin is a source for the California grapes, and one of June’s cousins, Francis Balistreri, also designed the attractive Vino è Buono label on the bottle. The man on the label , who is lifting his glass in a salutè, is Clyde’s father, Gaetano. The name for the wine was inspired by Clyde’s Uncle Ventuda (Buonoventuda) Spero. When Clyde first met his 88 year old uncle in Potenza, Italy in 1993, Zio (Uncle) Ventuda would raise his glass of wine and salutè, and then after downing the wine in one long drink, he would smack his lips and proclaim, “Vino è Buono,” which means – “wine is good”! (As a footnote, Zio died at the age of 98 in August 2003.)