by Sarah Shoffler, SFUSD Board Member
I used to think that “rockstar” had to be the best job in the world. According to Cecilia Naldoni, winemaker at the Grifalco Winery in Basilicata, Italy, I was wrong.
“We do the best job in the world.”
One of four winemakers from Italy touring southern California this month as part of Slow Wine 2016, Naldoni and her colleagues love what they do, despite the difficulties.
Slow Food believes that wine, just as with food, must be good, clean, and fair – not just good. Slow Wine supports small-scale Italian winemakers who use traditional techniques, respect the environment and terroir, and safeguard the diversity of Italy’s grapes.
“Slow Wine is how we approach life. It is our philosophy,” says Naldoni. But this lifestyle, this philosophy is not easy to affect. “The difficulty is that our world is going the opposite way, and we have to resist and fight this a lot.”
Sorelle Bronca, whose winemaker Antonella Bronca is on tour, grows their vines on high steep hills in Veneto, where standing can be difficult, let alone farming. Moreover, organic wine, which all four visiting winemakers produce, in general tends to produce lower yields than conventionally-produced wines. Basilicata, where the Grifalco winery is located, is the most mountainous region in Italy, which can’t make farming grapes easy.
While producing the high quality “Slow Wines” that these women make takes sacrifice and work in difficult land, they contend that making wine this way is worth it. The rewards are substantial. “Slow wine rewards not only the wine but also the relationship of the grower with the territory,” claims Elisa Piazza, enologist at Sorelle Bronca in Veneto, Italy.
Angela Fronti of Istine in Tuscany says that the most rewarding part is being able to produce what she loves in the way she loves. “Maybe in the beginning it was difficult to change the mentality of my parents. They are from a generation who produced conventionally. But actually, they are happy now, too,” says Fronti.
“We are a woman company that produces high quality wines and, like people do with women, we pamper our vineyards and land,” says Piazza whose family has been producing wine for three generations. “Wine is the pleasure of life,” she contends.
Naldoni describes the pleasure she has in producing Slow Wine and how the wines themselves benefit. “We are always under the sky, looking up and thinking about our vineyard. We can be responsible, sensitive and manage our grapes as we would a little child, leaving his best peculiarities alive, and just letting him be what he can be, at his best.”
Saluti to letting wine be its best self.
Join us at Slow Wine with the Matriarchs to meet these Italian vintners on Friday, January 29th at The Rose in South Park. 6:30-8:30 pm.
Angela Fronti of Istine from Tuscany Antonella Bronca of Sorelle Bronca from Veneto Cecillia Naldoni Piccin of Grifalco from Basilicata Matilda Poggi of Le Fraghe from Veneto
Taste 8+ wines, enjoy a complimentary aperativo, and chat with four rad ladies making organic wine. $5 from every ticket benefits Slow Food Urban San Diego.
Buy your tickets ahead of time or at the door.