Juliann (Jules) Gold-Gambino likes to joke that she and husband Tommaso Gambino live on an airplane. With the couple having homes in Swampscott, Los Angeles, and Italy, along with a fast-growing brand of sparkling wine to nurture, that isn’t far from the truth.
After launching just over two years ago, Gambino Prosecco, the couple’s brand, has found its way into the hands of everyone from Tony Bennett to Patricia Arquette, and is sold in 10 states. And that’s just the beginning.
“We want to be in every state,” says Gold-Gambino, who grew up in Lynn. Sounds like a lofty goal, but the reality is that they are well on their way. Locally, Strega Prime in Woburn and Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse in Lynnfield were quick to pick up the product, and recently, top Las Vegas hotels like the Bellagio and the Venetian have started selling Gambino, with international distribution looming on the horizon.
“We are literally speaking with distributors and importers from all over the world,” says Gambino, whose family’s recipe for homemade wine served as the basis for the couple’s first product, Gambino Prosecco, a slightly sweet bubbly typical of what you would get in Italy. It is classified as “extra dry”—which can be a bit confusing. In the world of sparkling wine, extra dry actually means it has a bit of sweetness.
Gambino also offers Jules Rosé Sparkling Wine, which is off-dry with a hint of strawberries, and Gambino Gold, a brut-style wine, meaning it is bone-dry. The Gold holds a special DOCG status, a classification that signifies the wine meets the strictest standards for the Prosecco region.
“We always say they are our three babies,” Gold-Gambino says with a laugh, noting that the first one is named for Gambino’s family, while the Gold combines their two names and the rosé is named for her. “Tommy and I always say we never had children, but these are our children, because they carry our names.”
Like children, the three sparklers are very different expressions of the same stock, although all the wines are predominantly the glera grape, the classic Prosecco grape from the Treviso region of Italy, just outside Venice. The rosé contains a small amount of raboso, a red grape that gives it the blush color, but the other two are 100 percent glera.
The Gold is their top expression, says Gambino, noting, “When you drink a Gambino Gold, it is more elegant. It is the grand cru of prosecco.” To achieve the DOCG certification, a status granted to only a small number of wines in Italy, the Gold is made only from grapes from the famous Valdobbiadene region, a tiny subplot of the Veneto where steep hills require the grapes be harvested completely by hand. “We are looking to create the most luxurious prosecco on the market,” Gambino says.
Commitment to quality at every level is key, Gambino says. The couple travels to Italy every year to oversee the harvest, ensuring the best grapes wind up in all three products, and then personally visits each new market they enter, providing tastings and meeting with vendors.
“We work every market that we launch ourselves,” Gambino says. “We are very methodical and aren’t looking to grow extremely fast overnight. We are very picky about the quality.”
Consumers can appreciate that dedication. The couple hosts lots of events and tastings so people can get to know the product, “and once they taste it, they love it,” Gold-Gambino says, adding that the three wines each have their own special appeal.
“The prosecco shows green apples and peach, then our Gambino Gold has a little bit more of a floral undertone without being sweet. The Jules has a little bit of both, and a little hint of strawberry. The pink color is beautiful—beautiful to look at and beautiful to taste.”
With three different expressions of the glera grape, diners can drink Gambino wine throughout the evening, from aperitivo (Italian for aperitif) through dessert—which is exactly what Gambino’s family does these days.
His family is ecstatic about the wine, Gambino says. “That is all we drink now in Italy—not just my immediate family, but my extended family and friends.”
That is especially true over the holidays. “On Christmas Eve, they serve all fish, from beginning to end,” Gold-Gambino says. “From the small little appetizer fish dishes to even a pasta with lobster dish, we drink prosecco from beginning to end.”
That said, the couple notes that with a price range at retail generally under $14.99 per bottle, Gambino shouldn’t be reserved for special occasions. “I call it the everyday bubbles,” Gold-Gambino says. “Prosecco is my favorite, favorite beverage.… I am the prosecco queen of the North Shore.”