In the late 1990s, after decades of working in a family business, I felt I wanted a change. We had always owned a farm property in the area of Torre di Oriolo, and although I had never seriously considered making wine, I started doing precisely that on some 20 hectares, in an area that if we were in France would have been designated a Grand Cru.
Originally, the estate, which is locally called a podere, had a fruit orchard as well, but in the early 2000s it was replaced with vineyards. The vines I found there were the classic Romagna native varieties.
One vine-row, though, had something different.
Even after I consulted those who were familiar with the property and those who had worked on it, the identity of the red grapes growing in this one vine-row was still not clear. Both the state of ripeness and the vineyard yield were significantly different from all the Sangiovese that we had. Genetic analysis finally revealed that we were growing Centesimino, a long-neglected grape. So, I determined to restore and re-plant it.
My dedication to this classic grape, which we currently make in three distinct styles, was inspired by Luigi Veronelli, whose enormous contributions to Italian winegrowing need no instruction in the world of wine.
There was a small problem, though. I did not personally know Luigi at that time. It was Pablo Echaurren, a friend and creator of some of my most striking wine labels, who gave me advice that was as simple as it was effective: “Call him up.”
Concisely put, and just what I did. His secretary, after a brief conversation, said “I’ll get him on the line.” After that introductory conversation, our relationship grew, resulting in advice, tastings, and a lot more.
What I appreciated in Luigi was his genuine curiosity about the grape, mirroring my own. That was why I followed and applied to my own wine production Luigi Veronelli’s ideas and reflections, all his advice, in fact.
With regard to the rest of my winegrowing, I have always tried to promote a wine-rich Romagna that is a faithful reflection of my childhood memories and of the stories and tastings I shared with my own personal roots, my Nonno Rico, Augusto e Nadèl, to whom I dedicated two of the wines in my portfolio.
After more than 25 years, changing careers and dedicating my life to our family farm is still a challenge I relish.
The credit goes to my family, who have steadfastly supported me, and still do, but to my fellow workers as well, and to all my customers, who understand that behind – or rather within – every wine stands a terroir, history, and visions.