My passion for wine and wine-making came about some years ago, when my father was tired of all the hard work he devoted to the family vineyard, and decided to replace it with a less demanding olive grove. I was against the idea. I just couldn’t bear the thought of losing the vineyard. So I decided I’d look after it myself. I thus learnt the basics of viticulture out in the vineyards and of winemaking in the cellar, with the precious help of two ageing peasants.
My passion grew stronger, and I managed to save the ancient orchard and planted a hundred vines on the first abandoned plot that I purchased. The vines were scions from a historic Lucca vineyard, because I wanted something truly local and traditional. They were given to me by Guido and Giuseppe Cozzoli, the peasants who had brought fame to Segale wine. They gave me what they said were Moscato rosa and Aleatico Lucchese and when I left they gave me an idea of how palatable and fragrant these grapes are, when they said these grapes “are to wine what pepper is to a roast”. Segale – a patch of land cultivated by their family for over 400 years, where vines over 100 years old still thrive today.
The first three rows on my estate thus produce Segale grapes.
These hundred vines gave me the idea for the name of the company I was fantasising about – a dream that later would later come true.
The company would be called Colle delle 100 bottiglie – “The Hill of the 100 Bottles”. Why was that? Because a vine will produce about one bottle of wine if you thin out the grapes and don’t leave too many on the plant.
Some years later, a chance event unexpectedly brought me back to Segale. Shortly before, I’d decided to set up a company, encouraged by the opportunity offered by a regional funding programme.
Although the company existed only on paper, a friend of mine, an important oenologist from Lucca, had been entrusted by the owners to look for someone new to run the Segale vineyard. He placed his trust in me because he could see how passionate I was. This was a unique opportunity that I just couldn’t miss, and it gave rise to the company motto, which also recalls the winery’s logo – a blackbird with a grape in its beak – Dum Volo Deligo, which means “I catch on the fly”. In the meanwhile, the lands I managed or owned expanded with the purchase of the Vigna del Prete, a vineyard beneath the church of San Concordio di Moriano, at Maolina, not far from my father’s home. I later found out that the owner was a relative of the Cozzoli brothers in Segale… Another coincidence.
My passion became my profession, and now I hope to be worthy of the work I do.