A Taste of Tuscany at Casa del Vino

Silvia and Franco Mininni created a unique space in Hobe Sound that honors their Italian heritage and where wine is the star of the show

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Some of Franco’s Italian culinary creations include tasty charcuterie boards. Photo by Jason Nuttle
Some of Franco’s Italian culinary creations include tasty charcuterie boards. Photo by Jason Nuttle

Stepping into Casa del Vino on any given day is akin to visiting a cozy Italian enoteca, where a lucky few can imbibe and nibble in the company of owner Silvia Mininni and her husband, Franco. It’s this shared experience that Silvia says is central to the concept: She wants patrons old and new to feel like they have a key to the couple’s home. “People say, ‘I feel like I’m home without being home,’ and that’s the best compliment we can get,” says Silvia of the intimate space, which operates as a boutique wine retailer, gourmet grocer, and reservation-only wine pairing experience. “We like that people can relax and enjoy their time.”

Born and raised in the province of Pisa, part of the Tuscany region of central Italy, both Silvia and Franco have a long history in the world of Italian food and wine. Silvia has worked as a public relations representative for multiple Tuscan vineyards, while Franco learned to prepare authentic Italian cuisine with his grandmother as a child. In 2000, the couple moved from Pisa to Palm Beach Gardens, settling in Hobe Sound six years later and opening Casa del Vino in 2017. 

Ravioli with plum tomatoes. Photo by Jason Nuttle
Ravioli with plum tomatoes. Photo by Jason Nuttle

In Hobe Sound, the couple aimed to connect their roots with their new home. “My father used to live in Florida, and I would visit as a teenager,” Silvia recalls of her early travels to the States. “When we decided to move, we loved that the people here are authentic—what you see is what you get, and that’s who we are. We feel connected with the people around us.”

Upon entering Casa del Vino, which is located on U.S. Highway 1 near Southeast Kingsley Street, it’s hard not to be wowed by the abundance of wine—2,800 bottles fill an entire wall of the cozy space. The shop also carries a carefully curated selection of imported, organic, and artisanal products from all over the world. Truffle sauces, capers,
olive oils, gnocchi, and chocolates line the shelves, while meats, cheeses, and spices round out the edible inventory. 

Casa del Vino doesn’t have a dining menu, but guests do have the opportunity to sample some of Franco’s talents in the kitchen. Snag a reservation for an afternoon or evening wine pairing (the latter seats at 6:30 p.m. most nights) to soak in all the Italian goodness—but be sure to book well in advance, as a typical seating is capped at 12 guests.

Franco and Silvia enjoy a glass of wine at Casa del Vino. Photo by Jason Nuttle
Franco and Silvia enjoy a glass of wine at Casa del Vino. Photo by Jason Nuttle

“This is not a classic restaurant, it’s an epicurean experience with wine and food—an event every night,” says Silvia. “It’s an interactive experience so guests can repeat at home what we do here.” 

During events—which include private parties, wine tastings, and prix fixe pairings—Franco prepares small plates, working ingredients from the shop into his own recipes to create a unique tasting menu reminiscent of his childhood. “I started cooking when I was 11 or 12, but that changed when I worked as an Italian paratrooper instructor for 25 years,” says Franco. “My passion for food started again when we moved here.” At any given event, he serves whatever he feels like cooking that particular day, so prepare to be pleasantly surprised.

Franco’s filet mignon with mushrooms and fingerling potatoes. Photo by Jason Nuttle
Franco’s filet mignon with mushrooms and fingerling potatoes. Photo by Jason Nuttle

If Franco’s passion is Italian fare, Silvia’s is certainly Italian wines. Armed with a 2-inch-thick wine list bound in Italian leather, she shares her enthusiasm and knowledge with guests to ensure they choose the perfect flavor profile and price point (bottles range from $25 to the thousands). She also enjoys hosting winemakers—some of whom the couple know personally from their time in Pisa—for tastings and private dinners. 

It’s these wonderful personal touches that encouraged Wine Spectator to recognize Casa del Vino with its Best of Award of Excellence last year, though Silvia insists it’s the boutique winemakers who deserve the recognition. “We have a lot of wines from vineyards that aren’t recognizable [by name] at first sight, but they are incredible selections,” she says of the ever-growing inventory, which primarily includes biodynamic and organic wines from smaller operations in Italy, France, Spain, and California. “Beside the label, there are people, and beside the people, there are stories. We love to let people know what is behind the bottle.”

Book reservations for dinner events and tastings at least three weeks in advance by emailing casadelvinolifestyle@gmail.com or calling 772.675.2228. 11330 SE Federal Hwy., Hobe Sound; @casadelvinolifestyle (Instagram)

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