By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 06, 2007 at 3:00 PM

The State Fair is a Milwaukee tradition and the fact that beer is flowing faster than the little brook in the DNR exhibit is no surprise.

 The Wisconsin Winery Association has a prominent building on the fair grounds and it's always doing a brisk business. And that's been a good sign now for a number of years. But, a lot of that business is in honey wine, fruit wine, mead and novelty Packers wine with "cheesehead" caps; all of which can be good and good fun. But a lot of drinkers of traditional grape wines are looking for something a little different.

Enter Russell Turco and Door County's Stone's Throw Winery, which returns to the State Fair after its debut last year.

I ran into Turco this morning, taking a break at the wine bar in his space just west of the cream puff emporium. He said his State Fair business has been great this, partially because he's teamed up with Zaffiro's Pizza.

In fact, their corner space dishes up pizzas and other Italian dishes alongside a list of Stone's Throw wines, including a State Fair red that is a blend of more wines than I can possibly remember (although I know there's Barbera, Grignolino, Dolcetto, Zinfandel, Petite Syrah in there, alongside some others), and even better is the Zaffiro's red, which is about 70 percent Barbera and rounded with a dash of Zinfandel and another of Petite Syrah).

It's also partially due to the fact, that Wisconsinites, more than ever, are trading Genuine Draft for Estate wines. 

Once the Fair has come and gone, Turco heads back to Baileys Harbor to tend to the winery and also to some new projects he's got in the barrel. Once he's ready to tell us more, we'll share it with you.

 In the meantime, head over to the Fair, look for the rare 1965 Italian Ape Car -- ape, pronounced AH-pay, means "bee" in Italian and the three-wheeler is a sister to the Vespa (which means "wasp") scooter. Right behind it, there is a large selection of wine and cannoli with your name on them!

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.