Stories always start in a special place. Mine started right here, in Grancona, nestled in the Berici Hills (Colli Berici), between a house made of stones and a little vineyard framed by the woods around here, a forest of little oak and hornbeam trees. My grandparents spent there summers here and at that time it was, for me, the land of scents: the smells of old wood, of our own honey-jars which were stored in cupboards kept closed and safe from our mini-honey-hungry-hands, and the smell of green – which penetrated everything including the enormous walls.
It’s a story born from memories but which quietly and fluidly transformed into a desire, a goal and a project: to be present and a part of the picture in order to give a new sense to those stones that house a home and the land that holds it all. Here on the hill my grandmother, with her Kodak 765, taught me to look at the vineyard and incorporate it into a picture which would be harmonious and proportioned. To this day when I get to decide how to re-dimension a vineyard and how to position the rows, she’s there with me while I create a composition keeping everything she did in mind. She called it “composed space”. I call it beauty.
Everything that brought me here is deeply rooted in tough, rocky soil. Every bud of every vine is the strong continuity of work and the love for these hills – a difficult land for those who aren’t used to hearing the sound of the wind, and the total void of it’s absence. Here, in the silence that is only interrupted by the songs of the leaves in the trees, the insects, the call of the hoopoe bird and the croaks of the toads, I planted my project to bring this land back to it’s own rhythm and it’s own harmonious spaces. I didn’t follow protocol but instead I ignored the standards and the requests of the market and I started a story out of the ordinary, to bring back an identity to this place.
I started with very little: a few vineyards and a few varietals: Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Manzoni Bianco and Chardonnay; I wanted to follow the vocation of the terroir before that of my own. After a few years I started the certification process for “organic wine producer” and a bit at a time I followed my instincts while maintaining the identity of these hills, of an isolated and difficult land with immense possibilities. I chose to make my wines within the walls of my home so as to create a fluid continuity rather that a separation between my passions and my land.
Making wine means to harvest all of the perfumes, the scents, including the voice of the red and stony soil and the sun that rests on that soil. It means also maintaining respect for the rhythms and times that sometimes come early and sometimes late. Wine isn’t born from a precise idea but instead it develops, choice after choice, taking colour and form following the voice of the terrain, the seasons and the ecosystem within which it lives.
I don’t start with market demands. I’m often off-base with respect to the current systems.