June 14, 2010

ISBDC-nominated winery wins statewide award

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- An Alto Pass vineyard is the recipient of a statewide business award, and the winning nomination came from the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Alto Pass Vineyards Ltd., with Paul A. Renzaglia as winemaker and general manager, is the winner of the 2010 U.S. Small Business Administration Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Small Business of the Year Award. Judith Roussel, Illinois district director for the SBA, will present the award to the winery during a ceremony at 9 a.m. Wednesday, June 16, in the ballroom at the Holiday Inn Conference Center, 2300 Reed Station Parkway in Carbondale.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the presentation of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Small Business of the Year Award to Alto Pass Vineyards Ltd. For more information, contact Emily Carter at ecarter@biz.siu.edu or 618/453-5575.

Guy Renzaglia, Paul’s father, founded the winery in 1984, following a family tradition originally rooted in a small Italian seaside village. Alto Vineyards produced its first wine in 1988 and sold its first 1,200 gallons of wine in one weekend. The vineyard, now employing 14, has annual sales of more than $1 million. It became a third-generation business when Elissa Hopkins-Renzaglia joined the business in 2003. The vineyard currently produces about 30,000 gallons of wine annually, including 21 different varieties. The vineyard is the recipient of more than 75 national and international wine competition awards, while Paul and his father before him have each claimed numerous awards.

In a letter endorsing Alto Vineyards for the award, SIU President Glenn Poshard said the vineyard is very deserving of the award and a “vital member of a rural economy.”

The award presentation will occur during the “Meet the Lenders” lender and business matchmaking event. Small business owners and prospective owners will meet with loan officers from lenders affiliated with the SBA to discuss financing options and programs. SBA representatives will explain how economic recovery loan program funding can help more small businesses and other loan programs that federal, state and community agencies have available for small businesses.

Small business owners will also meet one on one with representatives from the Illinois Small Business Development Center at SIUC, the Small Business Administration, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Illinois state treasurer’s office, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Office, Illinois Ventures for Community Action and SCORE (counselors to America’s small business).