Bo DiBuono has never tasted the sangria he makes from his home in Westchester County, New York. That’s because he has a severe allergy to fruit, the main ingredient in his drinks. Still, since starting Manor Sangria in May 2021, he’s sold nearly 35,000 jars. Most recently his sangria landed on People Magazine’s Editor’s Pick for Valentine’s Day.
So how does he do it? DiBuono, who has worked in the food business for 20 years, said it’s all about experience.
“My knowledge in food and blending flavors has helped me to create my recipes,” he said.
It was at his snack bar in Larchmont, New York about 15 years ago that he first debuted his sangria, per the request of summertime beachgoers.
After tweaking the recipes from customer feedback, the drink soon became a sought-after menu item. “On Wednesday nights, people were coming to the snack bar asking for sangria. That’s how I knew it was going somewhere,” said DiBuono.
But it wasn’t until the pandemic hit and he had to close down all of his food operations that he returned to his sangria recipes. “For the first time in 20 years, I had time to think and take action. How do I want to spend the next 20 years of my career?”
Last May, DiBuono decided to sell his long-in-the-works sangria at local farmers markets throughout New York. His career pivot instantly paid off when people raved about the sangria’s taste. “I haven’t changed any of the recipes in over 10 years,” said DiBuono.
The key to DiBuono’s sangria is twofold: first, he uses fresh fruit that is sourced from local farms in New York. Second, he omits liquor, instead combining only wine and fruit. “Typical sangrias have triple sec or brandy which can be really sugary,” explained DiBuono. His avoids that characteristic. Still, the sangria packs a punch with its three blends: The classic with apple and citrus, the seasonal spring blend with peach and the holiday blend with cranberry and cinnamon. “Sangria is typically associated with summer or hot weather, but Manor Sangria turns it into a year round drink,” he said.
Manor Sangria now ships to over 13 states, but DiBuono said the success won’t change the product and its key ingredient of fresh, hand-picked fruit. His goal? “I plan to employ people to do it all by hand,” he said. “I want it to be very intimate. Every piece of fruit will be inspected to make sure that it is fresh.”
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