MARCO ISLAND — The Board of Directors hosted a wine tasting reception June 17 to help promote its Intermezzo Wines during the Florida Cattlemen’s Association annual convention at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort.
In 2012, the Tribe recognized a need for high quality wines in the Hard Rock casinos and cafes. They partnered with Gudrun and Robert Cuillo, who own wineries in Italy.
“We want to promote the wines with our other products,” Hollywood Board Rep. Steve Osceola said. “It goes great along with the steaks.”
The goal for Intermezzo, like every other Seminole brand, is representation in a broad range of dining environments with an exemplary product. High-roller events at Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach and Coconut Creek casino have featured the wines.
“They are fine events paired with fine wines,” said John Dembeck, chief operating officer of Seminole Brand Development. “The Board wants to do business off the reservation and let the world know about it.”
The Cuillos started in the wine business after falling in love with the 1,500-year-old Livernano and Casalvento wine estate and winery in the Tuscan hills. Production began after a full restoration of the property in 2000, including 38 acres of newly planted vineyards with nine grape varieties.
The Seminole flag now flies over the winery in the village of Livernano, not far from Florence and Siena.
“Our goal is to make the best wines with pride,” said Gudrun Cuillo, an Austrian who learned to speak Italian when she and her husband, Robert, decided to make wine in Italy. “We wanted to partner with someone who would be as proud as we are.”
Vini Artico wines, which include cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot and pinot grigio, are the house wines at the Seminole casinos and Hard Rock cafes. They are available in the Tribe’s convenience stores.
Higher-end wines include the award-winning Janus cabernet sauvignon and Casalvento Chianti Classico riserva. Wine Spectator magazine has highly rated the wines.
“We stand behind our wines,” Cuillo said. “This isn’t just a business relationship we have with the Tribe – it’s like family. They have really taken us in and integrated us into the Tribe.”