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Occupation: I’m a commercial wine maker for DiGrazia Vineyard in Brookfield. I work on private fishing boats out of Rhode Island, as a first mate, and the rest of the time, I’m a stay-at-home dad.
Family: My wife, Amy, and I have a daughter Lydia, who just turned 4 years old.
Pets: We have a pet goose, James. We had another one, too, named Jesse, who recently died.
How long have you lived in Newtown? My dad grew up here, and then moved away for a while. I moved back here with my parents in 1986, so I’ve lived here the better part of my life. I actually live in the house my dad grew up in.
What do you like to do in your free time? I cave. My wife and I handle all of the permitting for Northeastern Cave Conservancy. They own caves in New York, and manage caves in New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut, so if you’re a group and want to go caving in New England, you talk to us. I hunt a lot, too. Our two main sources of protein are venison and fish. I also garden, and raise all of our own food in a half-acre garden.
Do you have a favorite place to go caving? I like Scott’s Hollow, in West Virginia. The caves down there are so big in volume and length. They’re pretty, and they’re challenging. It’s an amazing place.
Do you have a favorite travel destination? We love to travel. When Lydia was only 6 weeks old, she was already on a plane. We visit her godparents every winter in Florida, but my favorite place is probably Hawaii. We’ve been four times to go caving. The coolest thing is that you can kind of choose the climate you like, because it’s a mountain. The fishing is good there, too. My second choice would be Cat Island, in the Bahamas.
What is the best thing about Newtown? Especially where I live, on Pond Brook, it is still very rural. But within 15 minutes, I can be in town. I like that there are still rural areas.
What is the biggest change you have seen in town? Well, it’s the fact that it’s not as rural as it was!
Do you have a hero? Dr Paul DiGrazia. I’ve known him nearly my whole life. He is a man who has tried to do what is best for his patients, and for the consumers in the wine industry. He is just a very good man.
Do you have a personal philosophy? Well, two, actually. First, just be happy with what you have – not only in material things, but in who you are. If we were all that way, the world would be a better place. Second, I really believe in the locavore movement and have been a locavore my whole life. I believe in supporting local farmers and businesses, and that’s what I’ve tried to pass on to my daughter.
Do you have a guilty pleasure? Really, really good wine. That’s my guilty pleasure.