Spaghetti Night -- with a twist

In Duplin Winery’s early days, as now, the entire Fussell family worked together to make sure the enterprise was a success, and that meant Spaghetti Night.

Ann Fussell, wife of Duplin co-founder, David Fussell Sr., gather her husband and sons, Dave Jr. and Jonathan Fussell, around the table for hearty plates of pasta, but there was usually a surprise.

“When I was little boy, every Wednesday night was ‘Spaghetti Night.’ And after all the dishes were washed, ‘Spaghetti Night’ turned into ‘Labeling Night,’” Duplin co-owner Dave Fussell said.

Ann Fussell with her sons, Dave Fussell Jr. and Jonathan Fussell.

“In the mid-'70s, every single bottle of Duplin Wine had to be hand labeled. And like stamps used to be, our wine labels had to be licked. These labels were a lot bigger than stamps!  And after licking about 20 something labels, I learned you’d start feeling a little funny. I liked it!  So, I always volunteered to be the ‘label licker.’”

This tomato sauce recipe is a tribute to Fussell Family Spaghetti Nights. Ground beef plus sausage add richess. Duplin Bugundy or the Heritage Club exclusive red wine, 45, crafted in honor of Duplin's 45th year, add a hint of sweetness. 

Spaghetti Night Sauce 

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds lean ground beef

1 pound bulk Italian pork sausage

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

4 large cloves garlic, minced

4 tablespoons dried basil

2 teaspoons dried oregano

Salt and pepper

½ cup Duplin Burgundy or  Duplin 45

Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes

One 28-ounce can tomato puree 


1. Place a large saucepot over medium heat. When pot is hot, add olive oil. When oil has heated a bit, add the ground beef and Italian pork sausage, breaking it up with a large spoon. Cook and crumble the meat until it is browned.

2. Season the meat with salt and then add the onion and garlic to the meat mixture. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in the dried basil, and dried oregano.

3. Stir in the red wine and let simmer for about 1 minute, until wine has mostly evaporated.

4. Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato puree to the pot, stirring to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a simmer.

5. Reduce the heat to the lowest simmer possible, and place a lid slightly ajar on the pot. Simmer sauce for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

6. Serve over spaghetti.

Makes about 3½ quarts.

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