The Ruggiero Family
Richard Ruggiero – Founder
Brenda Ruggiero – Owner
Albert Ruggiero Jr. – Owner
Margaret Ruggiero-Mena – Owner
Natalie Ruggiero-Willis – Owner
Marcelo Mena – General Manager & Winemaker
Photogallery rendered here.
Founder in Pursuit of Passion!
The journey that led Richard Ruggiero to be the founder of Paradise Hills Vineyard & Winery was filled with dreams and passion. His roots take him back to Hill Street in Hamden, CT with his brother Albert Ruggiero Jr. They grew up in an Italian family with Italian traditions and the love of wine and the art of wine making. Both Richard & Albert had a desire to create something that they were passionate about and could call their very own. Richard told his brother one day when they were making wine in the family basement some 30 years ago.
“Al, just imagine finding the perfect location to have our very own vineyard & winery, I can see us preparing the fields and soil, planting our vines one by one, taking care and nurturing them as they grow. When fully ripened we can harvest the grapes, crush them and make our very own handcrafted wine. What can possibly be better than that? It is the most ultimate form of art to be able to create something like this and to bring it all the way to the table for others to enjoy.”
After this conversation, Richard passionately set out to find the perfect spot where the family could begin their dream of having a renowned Connecticut Vineyard & Winery. In 1996 his journey lead him to Wallingford, CT; a well known agricultural community who welcomed the family and was eager to have a Connecticut Vineyard & Winery in their town. The Ruggiero family settled upon sixty-five acres of rolling hills and hay fields on Wind Swept Hill Road as the future home of Paradise Hills Vineyard and Winery. Planting its first vineyard that year, Albert and Richard Ruggiero witnessed the start of their lifelong dream to own and operate a family vineyard and winery. The location was perfect at the end of a vacant street with only one home and the entrance through a cul-de-sac. The winery is nestled a quarter of a mile set back from the entrance and surrounded by beautiful rolling hills and landscape.
Prior to taking this giant leap to Wallingford, CT Richard and Albert grew grapes in Hamden, CT for more than 15 years where they learned a great deal about growing grapes in Connecticut and making wine. They supplied other Connecticut Farm Wineries with grapes and entered many wine competitions where they won many awards and accolades for their amateur wines as they continued to develop the fine art of wine making. After years of operating solely as a vineyard, supplying quality wine grapes to several Connecticut farm wineries, the Ruggiero’s opened their new winery and tasting room in 2011 for all to enjoy with friends and family. Richard looks forward to welcoming you to Paradise!