The Father and The Vine

Every year, during the month of June, America celebrates dad and all the father-figures that help define this role.  That day occurs this Sunday, June 18th.  So with the weekend in view, ARTTalk is shining a light on one father in particular who has mastered the art of the vine.   Stephen Scarnato has a passion for the grape vine. In addition to being a father and husband, Scarnato is the founder and manager of a vine care company out of New York called Long Island Vine Care.  

He started the company in May 2015, caring for vineyards by working in one on Long Island during his summer breaks. He lived in a room in the back of the vineyard a few days a week while he worked.  “Living there and being literally surrounded by the vines I just fell in love,” Scarnato said. “{I thought} people need to know how cool this is. People need to experience it not by watching a documentary or by taking an hour and a half tour of vineyard. I wanted them to see it and live it with the vines.”

With Long Island Vine Care, Scarnato visits peoples’ homes and plants vineyards in their yards.  His wife Sarah helps with the administrative aspects of running the business. Long Island Vine Care is busier in the summer months than winter time.  With winter being less busy, Stephen can be home with his wife and a present dad to their almost two-year-old daughter Aria. “Come the beginning of November there really isn’t that much to do so I get to hang out with them (his family) all the time," he says.   Even with another baby on the way, he has not had to adjust his schedule.  He rises early with his wife to pray and read before he starts his day. 

“It’s really interesting living a life that follows the cycles of the season."  
 

Stephen Scarnato enjoys the flexibility running Long Island Vine Care offers him.  “I think having freedom is one of the most important things.  Having that  time where I can go to all of Sarah’s doctor appointments with her and I don’t have to ask anyone permission. That’s really important.”  He also has the freedom and pleasure to bring his daughter to work with him.  Though still quite young, Aria is growing in this stage of life to understand items associated with vine care. “This is probably the first growing season that she is going to remember,” he marvels. “She is going to be able to call things by their names, like the leaves or the flowers.”

 

Aria likes learning new things and her Dad enjoys being able to share with her his passion.  “It’s great because Aria loves being outside. She loves running around and I have to do my best to preserve that wonder and make sure she’s not stifled by me trying to teach her too much,  while also keep her interested so that she will want to learn more.”  

He remembers showing his daughter how to blow the seeds off a dandelion and how amused the soon to be two-year-old became.  “I showed her a tractor once,” he recalls. “The pound of the tractor got her so scared. She thought the tractor was attacking me because I was on top of it," he says with a laugh.  On this particular day, Sarah will bring Aria to the large farm where Stephen currently spends a majority of his time. The family will then enjoy a picnic together.

 

Scarnato wants to grow Long Island Vine Care and get more customers.  He sees the next big step for the company is to hire someone full time.   He hopes to manage the business for many years and, like many patriarchs, eventually pass the company down to his children.

 
“I absolutely love it! I wake up early in the morning and just look forward to starting the day and interacting with the vines. I can’t see giving it up for the next 20 years.”
 

You can contact Stephen Scarnato through Long Island Vine Care’s website or Facebook page to request information or get started on your backyard vineyard.  This Father's Day you can gift a great bottle, or you can give a dad the gift of his own wine.  

Happy Father's Day!

 

BY ALEXANDRA RAMEY

Contributing from Virgina (USA)