"Unfortunately for me, taxes seemed to rise faster than I could make and sell wine," he said.
Last year, after local taxes for his home, land and buildings zoomed past $18,000, Tamuzza decided to start making wine in a better - and cheaper - location.
"I'm a Jersey boy, and I didn't want to leave the Garden State," said Tamuzza, 43. "Most people don't realize this, but New Jersey has three distinct climates, and much of the state is ideal for growing grapes."
At the same time, Franklin Township in Gloucester County was looking for new, suitable types of businesses.
"We wanted to attract businesses that would not detract from our rural character, and wineries, we decided, would be ideal," said Phil Santorio, an economic-development official for the township, which includes the community of Franklinville.
Members of the local economic-development committee started attending Rutgers University's conferences for state winemakers. When they heard Tamuzza wanted to relocate, they invited him to check out Franklin Township.
Last month, Tamuzza opened the township's first winery and the first business the economic-development committee has attracted.
"I couldn't be happier," he said. "And as far as wine-making is concerned, the climate and soil here are ideal."
The township is happy with the arrangement as well.
"A winery is an ideal way to preserve open space and to bring people to the area," Santorio said.
Tamuzza's specialties are champagne, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, and he has planted more than 2,000 vines on 3 1/2 acres of a former hay field. Eventually he plans to expand the vine-growing to 10 acres. Until the fall of 2004, when he anticipates his first grape harvest, Tamuzza will buy grapes from other growers in the state to make his own wines and champagnes.
"Even though they may harvest their own grapes, many wineries still buy grapes from each other," Tamuzza said.
The vintner, who has spent more than $250,000 on the operation, is shooting for 40,000 bottles this year. By the beginning of summer, he anticipates the site will be open to the public for tastings.
"I've literally built most of the winery building myself, with the help of my 14-year-old son, Gregory," Tamuzza said of the Tudor-style stucco structure.
Tamuzza Vineyards is one of 17 wineries in the state, which ranks 10th in wine production in the nation, according to the state Agriculture Department.
For more information about Tamuzza Vineyards, call 1-800-362-0309.
New culinary ventures . . . and a closing. A bakery has changed its focus, a pizza parlor has a new owner, a children's restaurant and entertainment facility has added a new location, and a longtime restaurant has closed.
Lombardi Cookie Co. in Marlton has a new name and look. Last week, the venture, at 901 Route 70, was transformed into Marlton Bagel & Deli, billed as a "true New York deli." It will specialize not only in baked goods but also in salads, full breakfasts, deli sandwiches, a changing hot-food menu, and kosher food. In addition, milk, bread, eggs, produce, lunch meat and juices will be sold. After operating the bakery for four years, Jeff Lombardi of Marlton has teamed up with longtime friend Rehan Kahn of Cherry Hill to change the eatery's focus. "I shall continue to do the baking, and Rehan will lend his expertise to the running of the deli," Lombardi said. Kahn also owns similar delis in Manhattan and on Long Island and Staten Island. For more information, call 856-988-0900.
The Italian and American flags are still there, but Frank and Ann Cataldo, who had operated Frank's Pizza Place on Ellis Street in Haddonfield since 1992, have retired. The new owner is Shannon Cittadini of Cherry Hill, a longtime customer who renamed the business La Bella Deli & Catering in memory of her grandmother Isabella Giambrone Cittadini. "When I heard they wanted to sell the business and retire, I offered to buy it," said Cittadini, a hairdresser and caterer who took over the business last month. She will continue her catering business as a sideline to La Bella, which specializes in hoagies and other sandwiches. Pizza, however, no longer is sold. "I wanted to concentrate on sandwiches and salads and catering," Cittadini said. For more information, call 856-795-6680.
Chuck E. Cheese's has opened an outlet at 2501 Burlington-Mount Holly Rd. in Burlington Township, its 12th in the state. The business is across from the Burlington Center Mall. For more information, call 609-386-9928.
Chi Chi's, a fixture since 1983 on Route 38 in Cherry Hill, closed in late February due to "underperformance," said Robert L. Carl, the vice president for media and public relations for Prandium, which owns Chi Chi's and other restaurant chains. The building, which Prandium leased, is for sale. Six other Chi Chi's restaurants in the state continue to operate, including one in Deptford.
Contact Louise Harbach at 856-779-3861 or email@example.com.
"Comings and Goings" is a feature about new businesses as well as those that have departed. Submission of items is welcome. Information must include a name and phone number. Items should be mailed to Louise Harbach, The Inquirer, 53 Haddonfield Rd., Cherry Hill, N.J. 08002. Information also may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 856-779-3221.