"Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
- Dylan Thomas
It is a mission to not let the light die that inspired this project. On November 21, 2019 the world lost a very special person, my mother, Diane Rizzo (Dickerson). Mom was not only a wonderful mother, amazing cook, and friend to all, she was a trailblazing entrepreneur who helped create one of Delaware (and America’s) most storied food franchises. Long before it was common to have female fronted corporations, she along with her cousins Lois and Alan, created Capriotti’s and in turn, were at the forefront of a paradigm shift in the business world.
Capriotti’s was originally started in 1976 by our cousins Lois and Alan Margolet. Amid tons of competition, they forged a brand and reputation for quality in their little store on North Union Street in Wilmington’s Little Italy neighborhood. In 1986, Capriotti’s graced the cover of Delaware Today as the state’s best sandwich and business exploded. Seeing an opportunity, Mom left her role as VP of Meldick Services, a company whose core business was food service contracts on military bases.
Armed with an accounting degree and years of working knowledge of the food business, she became a partner in Capriotti’s and mortgaged our family home to open the second Capriotti’s location on Basin Road in New Castle, DE in 1988. Fortunately, it was a massive success and a franchise was born. Today, there are over 100 locations across the US in more than 20 states. AOL named our Bobbie Sandwich, “The Greatest Sandwich in America”. Our family sold their interest in the corporation in 2009, but many locations remain family (or family adjacent) owned.
You may think to yourself, all the sandwich stuff is great, why wine? My Mom was well known for loving her Pinot Grigio. It’s also a passion I share. When thinking of how to keep her memory alive, wine was the first thing I thought of. But I wanted to do more than sell a wine, I wanted the proceeds to be used to inspire future entrepreneurs and business leaders. That’s why all profits from our wines will go to the DD Entrepreneurial Foundation.
The foundation will serve 2 key purposes:
- Provide start up capital to new business and grants to existing business led by female entrepreneurs
- Fund entrepreneurial opportunities for young women via education and internships
In short, whether its recommended in your local wine shop or something you pick off a restaurant menu, it’s something family and friends will share over meals and celebrations. It's something waitstaff and bartenders can recommend when someone is looking for a glass. It’s a way for Mom to live on and for her legacy to continue. It’s a way to provide a spark to the local communities we are sold in. It’s so much more than wine. It’s our way of being purpose driven and purposely different.