A Legend of Over 500 Years
Making the best wines together
Shelter Rock Winery is a winemaking club based in Danbury, CT. Club members gather from October through June to produce their own wine from grape to bottle. Expert Winemaker, Giovanni Petretta, guides members through a series of step-by-step workshops to understand the art & process of winemaking. Members name their brand new wine & even have custom labels put on each bottle of their special wine. Throughout the year, members are invited to member-only social events such as wine glass painting, holiday parties, and dances. Our members form a close bond & community through their mutual love of fine wine- and we would love to welcome you!
Giovanni Petretta’s family have been winemakers in Santo Stefano del Sole, in Avellino Italy, since the 15th century.
The Petretta family was one of the founding families of Santo Stefano del Sole, dating back to 1525. Their connection to the land runs deep, just as the grapevines their family tended for six generations. But everything changed after the devastating 1980 earthquake.
Giovanni arrived in the U.S. with a suitcase the size of a laptop. For years, the Petretta family craft of old world winemaking lay unused as Giovanni tackled a new language and a new culture. Giovanni missed the traditions of his homeland. He wanted to bring something from his old world into the new, something that could reconnect him to the land he still loved.
So Giovanni started in the basement of his Brookfield, CT home, where he lived with his wife and three children, purchasing the right grapes and using the old methods that had been shaped by his family for generations.
That first year, Giovanni invited friends to help in the winemaking process. Each year the group of friends grew, as did the amount of wine he produced. Giovanni soon realized he had created something special, something that connected him to his past and connected him more deeply to his adopted community. Santo Stefano Winemaking was reborn.
Santo Stefano Winemaking became Casa Petretta Cellars, a selection of handcrafted blends that continued the same old-world winemaking traditions established so many years ago in Italy with individual bottles available for sale through select distributors.
Then, in 2012, Giovanni opened Shelter Rock Winery as a means of introducing winemaking to the public. Giovanni has embraced his family’s heritage to allow others to embrace their own.
Shelter Rock Winery is a celebration of the past and the present, the young and the old, the old world and the new.
A Message from Our Founder
I take great pride in sourcing grapes from some of the finest vineyards in the world, focusing on certain varieties that grow better in specific climates and soils. Because Shelter Rock Winery is in an urban environment, I have the luxury to seek the most expressive fruit for my members.
And this is not a winery behind closed doors – my vision is to provide fans of wine, food, and culture the chance to experience all aspects of the winemaking process; the crush, the press, the fermenting, the racking, and finally, the opportunity to create your own custom designed label.
Shelter Rock Winery is laid out so that people can enjoy the consumption and enjoyment of wine and food among the stainless steel tanks and Oak barrels. Tasting flights are offered to sample during tours, wines classes, tasting dinners, and private parties.
The result? World-class wines produced in Danbury CT, by wine enthusiasts just like you. Making your own wine is an unparalleled experience, that offers great insight into wine, whether you decide to own or share a barrel. Come and sample any of my house wines – the proof is in the bottle.
Giovanni Petretta, Founder & Head Winemaker