Wines and Wineries in Delaware




Just a few minutes from U.S. 13, on the quaintly named Peach Basket Road, rests a rural oasis with rolling lawns, trees, a rose trellis and fire engine-red buildings. Ducks and geese paddle across a pond punctuated with a fountain, and guests watch the lazy action from the gazebo. They head back to the main building for a glass of wine—or two or three. And that’s part of the plan.

This is Pizzadili Vineyard and Winery in Felton. The dream of brothers Pete and Tony Pizzadili, the operation opened in 2004, making it Delaware’s second winery.

A new winery was a long time coming for the First State. Nassau Valley Vineyards, Delaware’s first winery, opened in 1993. “Wineries have been popular in other states for years—you needn’t look much farther than Virginia,” says Cindy Small, executive director of the Kent County & Greater Dover Delaware Convention & Visitors Bureau. “But Delaware has been behind the curve.”

That’s changing. Today, the state can also tout Fenwick Wine Cellars, which debuted in 2010. Harvest Ridge Winery in Marydel was scheduled to break ground on a production facility in October. Like Pizzadili and Nassau Valley, it offers spots where you can sip, savor the view and experience the local scene.

Indeed, the interest in local products is helping fuel the trend. Upscale tourists don’t want to visit Walmart or chains, Small notes. “You want to experience the local culture.” Recognizing that sentiment, the Delaware Tourism Office debuted the Delaware Wine & Ale Trail, a self-guided tour of 12 wineries and breweries. Since May, the revamped Web site has experienced 36,1240 hits. (Visit eight sites, log the information on a downloadable passport and you get a free glass or tankard.)

The sites offer a slice of area culture along with a glass of wine. Pizzadili Vineyard, a stop on the trail, began as a catering venue for Pizzadili Deli. Brothers Tony and Pete grew up around winemakers near Florence, Italy, and they helped their father, Salvatore, make wine. In 1956, Salvatore left a country still recovering from World War II to come to Delaware. “He wanted to give us a better life,” Pete Pizzadili says.

The U.S. government demanded that immigrants have a sponsor and a job. So the family worked at a deli owned by Salvatore’s brother in Felton.

The brothers bought property for the winery in 1992 and planted grapes. The rest of the winery developed slowly. “We weren’t in any rush,” Pizzadili says. “We took our time.”

Pete Pizzadili relaxes in his winery’s Bacchus Cave. Photo by Ron DubickThey added a gazebo for ceremonies and a pavilion for receptions of up to 400. Bacchus Cave, which seats 35, is located off the tasting room, where guests can sample such offerings as “Brothers’ Table Wine.” The dry red is now a bittersweet tribute. Tony passed away in 2010. “He was a major part of this,” says Pizzadili, who is still visibly shaken by his brother’s death.

The landscape and local wines make Pizzadili a popular tourist stop and a party place. Pizzadili gives credit to Peggy Raley-Ward of Nassau Valley for paving the way. “She is the one who laid the groundwork,” he says. “We are following in her footsteps.”

It was 1987 when Raley-Ward planted grapes on the land her father owned outside Lewes. At the time, Delaware prohibited wineries. “I had to lobby to change the law so I could open,” she says. The Legislature saw her side in 1991, and she opened in 1993. Situated in a pastoral section just off Del. 1, the winery has developed a reputation for quality products. As of August, Nassau Valley had snagged 17 medals in wine competitions just this year.

Nassau Valley, in turn, benefitted from Chaddsford Winery in Chadds Ford, Pa., cofounded by Lee and Eric Miller in 1982. The Millers initially were met with skepticism. “No one ever heard of making wine here,” Lee Miller says. It was “still a joke” laden with prejudice. Only French and Italians made fine wine. “You can’t make wine here, nobody will drink it,” people told them.

Anthony and Karen Vietri, who planted grapes on the family farm in Avondale, Pa., in 1999, faced similar challenges. “There was a negative reputation for East Coast wines,” Anthony Vietri says. “The was no national recognition, no real distribution opportunities, no restaurant support. This climate forced us to develop a business model that could educate and overcome these obstacles.”

Both wineries have become successful. Va La, which primarily focuses on northern Italian varietal blends, is praised for its esoteric creations, and Chaddsford in 2011 produced 30,000 cases of wine. The Millers this year stepped out of daily operations and sold their shares to their partner, Carl Petrillo in New York, who seeks to expand the brand along the East Coast.

Meanwhile, Chaddsford Winery has gotten some company. In 2003, Carole and Jim Fitzpatrick launched Kreutz Creek Vineyard in West Grove. Two couples, all of whom are doctors, joined forces to plant grapes on the farm they purchased in 1994, and Pardocx Vineyard was born. They built a winery in 2006. Also that year, Gino Razzi, a wine importer for 40 years, opened Penns Wood Winery in Chadds Ford. In 2011, Galer Estate Vineyard & Winery opened a tasting room in Kennett Square.

All the wineries are family affairs, and it’s no different in Delaware. Adrian Mobilia and his wife, Shannon Reilly-Mobilia, own Fenwick Wine Cellars. Mobilia grew up on a fruit farm in Erie, Pa., which sells grapes to wineries.

Delaware’s new kid on the block, Harvest Ridge Winery, is a father-and-son effort. Chuck and Chip Nunan last year planted five acres on land they’d purchased about eight years ago. They planted an additional 2½ acres this year. It might seem like an odd endeavor for the men, who also own SERVPRO franchises. Chuck Nunan, however, has made wine as a hobby for more than 15 years. “So we came up with the 300-year project, as my dad calls the winery,” Chip Nunan says.

Chaddsford Winery winemaker Jim Osborn. Photo by Ron Dubick

Grapes include Chardonnay, Merlot, Malbec, Chambourcin, Landot Noir—reportedly good in the Northeast climate — and Cabernet Sauvignon.

A glance at area wineries’ labels shows that certain grapes must grow well in this region. You’ll see a lot of Chambourcin, a French-American hybrid. Vidal Blanc, a cross of white grapes, grows well in cool weather. There’s also a lot of Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The North American Niagara and Concord grapes pop up, perhaps because many customers favor approachable wines. Along with using grapes, most wineries make wines with fruit to appeal to customers with a sweet tooth. “Our most popular wine is strawberry,” Pizzadili says.

It’s not unusual for wineries to purchase grape juice, especially during startup. Until its fruit grows in earnest, Harvest Ridge will buy grapes and a third party will make the wine under the Nunans’ specifications.

Va La, however, never buys grapes from other states, Vietri says. Pizzadili also sticks to its own harvest. “We are proud to say that we only sell wine from grapes we grow,” Pizzadili says.

Although the wine industry has been in the region for more than 20 years, that’s just a blip when you compare it with the industries in France, Germany, Italy—even California. “True grape knowledge is lacking in this area,” Rizzo of Penns Wood Winery says. “There’s no written history. We’re finding out as we go along.”

But with age comes wisdom, says Pizzadili. “As we’re getting older, we’re making better wine.” 

 

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January 2017

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Sports Card & Collectible Show at Aetna Fire Hall on Jan. 22—sign up now! -Sports Cards McFarlane Figures Comic Books Non-Sports cards Wrestling Items Vintage Starting...

Cost: $2

Where:
Aetna Fire Hall
400 Ogletown Road
Newark, DE  19711
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Sponsor: A2Z Promotions
Telephone: 302-983-2636
Contact Name: Bob Harper
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Belly Dance Classes with Zahra Beginner & intermediate classes open to teens and adults Sundays in January starting Jan 8th Beginner: 2:30-3:30 p.m. Intermediate: 1 - 2 p.m (must get...

Cost: $15-$42

Where:
Take the Lead Studio
320 Lantana Drive
Hockessin , DE  19711
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Sponsor: Take the Lead
Contact Name: Zahra
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
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Ah, typecasting—the baritone is always the bad guy! In Devils, Drunks & Dastardly Dudes, we’ll go on an operatic journey of men behaving badly. We’ll add a tenor to the mix, too… but we...

Cost: $29-$59

Where:
OperaDelaware Studio
4 South Poplar St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Sponsor: OperaDelaware
Telephone: 302-442-7809
Contact Name: Mary Wilcosky
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Come give curling a try! At this 2-hour intro-to-curling event we'll provide a basic lesson then coach you through a mini-game.  Whether you just want to cross #curling off your bucket list or...

Cost: $35

Where:
The Pond Ice Arena
101 John Campbell Rd
Newark, DE  19711
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Sponsor: Diamond State Curling Club
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

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Notbybreadalone Ministries presents Feeding the Hungry Outreach. All are welcome to come and partake of food, fun and fellowship. Those who desire a better way of life through Jesus Christ are...

Cost: Free

Where:
2nd and 3rd Streets
Wilmington, DE  19801


Sponsor: Notbybreadalone Outreach Ministries
Telephone: 442-0440
Contact Name: Ministers Wayne and Stephanie Dumpson
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Guest speakers Patty Dailey-Lewis, executive director of the Beau Biden Foundation, and Delaware Family Court commissioner Loretta Young will discuss how participation in social media can too...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilmington University - Dover
Building A Auditorium
3282 N DuPont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
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Sponsor: Wilmington University College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
Telephone: 302-295-1164
Contact Name: Dr. Johanna Bishop
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmers Market Nov 8, 2016 - April 11, 2017  11 am- 2 pm 25 vendors Location:  East Coast Garden Center 30366 Cordrey Rd Millsboro, DE 19966 302-945-3489

Cost: frr

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Sponsor: East Coast Garden Center
Telephone: 302-945-3489
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmer's Marke 25 vendors

Cost: Free

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Telephone: 302-945-3489
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

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A four-week series of ballroom dancing classes taught by teachers from the BlueBallroom. Tuesdays starting Jan. 10. Classes are $30 a lesson for Non-Members. Non-Member slots are limited. For...

Cost: $30

Where:
University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
View map »


Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

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Thursdays from 4:00PM-5:30PM Fall session: December 1st, 8th and 15th Winter session: Starts January 19th, every other Thursday until March 30th This program is based entirely outdoors and is...

Cost: Cost: $30 for TLC members / $40 for non-members

Where:
Bucktoe Creek Preserve
432 Sharp Rd
Avondale, PA  19311
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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MARC BROUSSARD In 2004, Marc Broussard, then a precocious 22-year-old singer/songwriter, released his major-label debut; he called it Carencro, after the Louisiana town where he was born and...

Cost: $22 SRO- $32 SEATED

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Show More...
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tutto Fresco has live entertainment every Friday night from 6:30–9:30 p.m. Call for details. http://tuttofrescode.com/

Where:
Tutto Fresco
514 Philadelphia Pike
Wilmington, DE  19809
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

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Meeting every Friday, Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, 640 s. State Street, Dover, 7:30 pm., Private Dining Room #3 in the basement. For those who have, or think they may have a gambling problem....

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
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Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
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Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-3396
Contact Name: Kathy Buterbaugh
Website »

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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

January 28 – Saturday – 1 to 4 p.m. Science Saturday – Truss Me, You Won’t Fall! Become an engineer for the day. Design a bridge to hold as much weight as possible....

Cost: Activities are included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum
Telephone: (302) 65802400 x 238
Contact Name: Jessica Eisenbrey
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

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GRILLED CHEESE AND CRAFT BEER TASTING We have taken two of the best things on earth and paired them together – Grilled Cheese and Craft Beer – and paired them together in unexpected and...

Cost: $40

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
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Saturday, January 28, 2017 at  7:30 pm at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 763 Valley Forge Rd, Wayne, PA 19087 Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 3 pm at Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square...

Cost: Tickets are $25 online, and $30 at the door. Student tickets $10 at the door.

Where:
Church of the Holy Trinity
1904 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA  19103
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Sponsor: Lyric Fest
Telephone: 215-438-1702
Contact Name: Jessica Nelson
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Fan favorite, Dick Smith, returns to the Dickinson Theatre Organ Society concert stage on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 for a show that is sure to bring the house down! Dick Smith has been a...

Cost: $15 Adults; $10 Students

Where:
John Dickinson High School Auditorium
1801 Milltown Road
Wilmington, DE  19808
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Sponsor: Dickinson Theatre Organ Society
Telephone: 302-995-2603
Contact Name: Bob Dilworth
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The Dickinson Theatre Organ Society presents Dick Smith. For tickets, click here: http://www.dtoskimball.org/events-tickets/ticket-information/ For further information, please call us at...

Where:
, DE

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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-3396
Contact Name: Kathy Buterbaugh
Website »

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MOTHERSHIP Mothership is the area's premier Led Zeppelin Tribute show. Composed of seasoned, professional musicians Mario Padovani - vocals, keyboards, Frank Ginocchio - drums, Chris Julian -...

Cost: 15

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Website »

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