The Return of True Italian Imports — Antonio Race and Ciao Vino!

Antonio Race (Photo provided by Ciao Vino)

Angelina Hunter |

If you’ve ever visited Italy, you know the cuisine is quite fabulous. No doubt, this is due to the freshest, locally-grown ingredients, and traditional methods of farming, raising livestock and food preparation that date back centuries.

Ciao Vino Chef/Owner Antonio Race knows all about these high standards. Born in Miliscola, a small coastal town north of Naples, his father Giuseppe, was a farmer and a fisherman, and his mother Assunta, was a superb cook. Not only had his ancestors been suppliers of fresh seafood but over many generations his forebears had grown their own produce, and made their own breads, gourmet cheeses and wines. Antonio grew up eating such delicious food that he turned his passion and joy into a culinary career.

Having been born in the area around Naples, Italy will always be his first home. But what some readers may not know, that having originally come to Fort Collins in 1991, Antonio is returning “home” to where his Pulcinella Restaurant won the Best of Award of Excellence in Wine Spectator Magazine and had a recipe published in Bon Appetit Magazine.

Antonio has operated many different types of dining establishments from award-winning upscale restaurants to pizzerias, two of which, Pulcinella Pizzeria, are still run in Fort Collins by his former wife. But this time around, he wanted to introduce a true Wine Bar to the Front Range, the kind he knew back in Italy that served superb wines complemented by small plates of light fare such as quality cold meats, gourmet cheeses, appetizers and salads.

At Ciao Vino, food is prepared with love and wines are selected with passion. Sourcing high-quality products, artisanal and well-made, they select their wines and ingredients from small producers or large companies that demonstrate professionalism and their love of the products they sell.

But the most intriguing thing is that Chef/Owner Antonio Race and his staff are seeking to create an open and friendly environment, a place for friends and family to gather. Wine, food and business are always about relationships — they believe in listening, observing, and interacting with their guests to create a product and as importantly, an experience you’ll want to return to.

Ciao Vino is located at 255 Linden Street, Fort Collins, and is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 pm to 10 pm and Friday through Sunday from 11 am to 10 pm. Small plates range from $5.00 to $14.00 and wines by the glass are from $9.00 to $14.00.

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