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The life of a winemaker - the Dude abides in the fields...

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The life of a winemaker - Part 1

Ok so now that you know how it all started, you might be asking yourself.. "Why are you still doing that, dude?".. the reason is simple, because it helps me to abide, a lot.

I don't know how many of you are used to live in and from the fields, I guess not much in our modern times, still even if you just had a glimpse of a rural life, you know how amazing it is.. sure not everybody likes it, but a lot do, then it means something I guess... however, the concept is simple: even if I live in what was an agricultural and rural area, almost everybody abandoned the old ways, and less and less people spend their time in working the fields, heck most of them don't even know how to grow up a tomato plant.. well this can't be helped I deem, but for me I picked a different life and I'll stick with my choice as long as possible, hopefully for my whole life...

A lot of you know that I'm a very mundane salesman (an Export Director, actually) and that's what I'm leaving from: it's not hard to guess to what level of stress you can be driven by a similar life.. running around the world in hurry, airports, customers, deadlines, problems and a whole load of similar crap every day, such a life can burn you out in few years, someone isn't even able to withstand it for few months.. I don't regret what I've done during the last 15 years, but I didn't make it my life, if you get what I mean: at a certain point I had to decide where to head in life, and rather than going "full business", I picked something in between.. on practical terms, I refused a couple of offers from multinationals companies (which would have forced me to move abroad) and I got along with the limited job opportunities I had around me, in order to be able to remain to live where I grew up...

I'm Italian, and family and tradition is everything for us.. I'm not the usual Italian though, and even if I'm more practical and pragmatic than many, I couldn't help but feel a sense of obligation towards those who came before me.. everything I have today has been built by them, with sweat and blood and I don't want to trow it all away, if I can avoid that.. I'm not talking about the houses or the properties, no, but I'm talking about the values such as hard working, honesty, respect and so on and on.. you are now probably asking yourself, "what this has to do with being a winemaker?".. everything, really... the life of a winemaker, if you produce biological wine like I do, is hard, committing and teaches you a lot.. it makes you understand, for instance, that you cannot cheat the Nature, because soon or later She will turn against you.. use poisons and your land will soon become poisoned.. ignore the natural cycles and pretend to have them bend to your needs, and you will soon learn that you are nothing, compared to the big circle of life... yes it's a bit melodramatic, but it has to be so, because it is so.

In few words: working in my own vineyard and making my own wine for the last 25 years or so, taught me patience and wisdom and helped me understand that life is a bigger thing than just our mundane needs and problems.. if not for this perspective I really doubt I could have lived, no heck, survived, my life as a Export Director.. I could be telling you about how much regenerating is to work in open air, how refreshing is to breath clean air early in the morning when the sun is not up yet or how much satisfying is to grow up your own grapes and make an amazing and healthy wine out of them.. I could be telling you this and much more, but I'd prefer to tell you to try it, because no words will be more convincing than direct experience. When I'm working in my vineyard or in the cellar, everything else fades away, every silly problem or inconsistent issue disappear from my mind and my mind, my whole soul, is just focused on that.. I can't describe the feelings I have, the words I used above such as "regenerating" or "satisfying" are only partially telling the full story, so once again, let me suggest you to try it..

Besides, I have great memories of the time I spent with my grandparents working and learning, mostly of the feelings I had, especially of those of the last times before my grandfather died... it was moving to see him sitting on a plastic bucket and talking to me of his own life memories (the hard times before WWII, the war itself, the new beginning after that and the great days of the 50's and 60's, etc).. it was moving because he could still barely walk at the time (hence the plastic bucket, he brought it with him as a "movable" chair, following me while I was working) and see (again, he was pretending to be checking what I was doing).. so all in all it was just an excuse to stay with me, to tell me about his life.. he was not far from the end at the time, but I remember well his face.. he was happy, comfortable and relaxed, like I had never seen him before..

Ah and of course I like drinking wine, what else?

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