Pierre-O Bonhomme Visit (2021)
This visit to Piere-O Bonhomme took place in July, 2021.Read more…
A Tribute to Olivier Lemasson
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François Pinon (1951-2021)
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Bellivière's "Vignes en Foule" Experiment
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A 2019 Visit to Matassa's New House and Vines
This visit with Tom Lubbe took place in June, 2019Read more…
Video: A Day in the Life of Nadia Verrua
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A Video Tour of L'Acino
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An interview with Rodrigo Filipe from 2020Read more…
De Fermo Interview
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De Fermo Producer Profile
De Fermo Producer ProfileRead more… //= $article['id'] ?>//=$article['url']?>//=Yii::t('app', 'Read more…')?>
An Interview with Federico Orsi
This interview with Federico Orsi took place over a Facetime exchange in February, 2017.
You're not from a winemaking family right? How did you get your start?
That's not entirely true. All of my family, but particularly my mother’s side, are farmers. They've historically had land in the western part of
My goal at the time was to get an MBA abroad. But I had also developed a passion for wine during my studies. The seed was actually planted when I was quite young, as my grandfather was also a wine lover and accumulated many great bottles from his visits to
So this passion for wine transferred from generation to generation, and upon my return to Italy I took a
Around 2005, we found out that a winery two miles from our house was for sale. I talked to my family about it, almost as a joke, and they encouraged for me to go for it. But it wasn't in my original game plan, and furthermore I felt that economically I could never make it work.
My wife wasn't happy with my original plans with the MBA, which probably meant moving to the US or France; she therefore kept insisting that if any part of me wanted to start a winery, I should go for it. And despite my parents, siblings and fiancée giving me the green light, I still resisted for a long time! They finally convinced me, and I told them we could do a five year test-run. If I could not make it successful after five years, we would resell it.
So together with my family we took over the winery in 2005. I dropped my MBA and divided my time between consulting and the farm. Year after year I found my time at the winery increasing, and eventually it became full-time.
Was the winere already called San Vito?
What exactly did you take over?
We took over the original
Can you give me a precise breakdown of the estate?
We own about 9.5
We then have about 2.5
Then in red we have two
When you started, you had no real knowledge of viticulture or winemaking right?
Tell us how about that learning process.
When I took over the winery in 2005, everything was done
Through research I discovered
So you came to biodynamics on your own? Were you aware of other biodynamic or “natural” estates flourishing around Europe?
I knew of some, for example Radikon, Gravner and La Stoppa. These
Another big influence was the film Mondovino. It made me second-guess what I'd been drinking over the last decade, and opened my eyes to the standardization of wine.
So did you study viticulture and oenology?
I started going to many tastings from likeminded producers as well as meetings for
Tell me about the Posca wines. It's one of the more unique projects we import.
To be honest, it came by chance. The idea started in 2008, the year we started making all our wines naturally. In 2007, we started the Mercato della Terra, a farmer’s market in
I'd read a study from
The wine became so popular that local restaurants started asking me for it. They would put the
I found no other solution, so I compromised and started making 20L boxes exclusively for restaurants. That eventually decreased to 10 liters, which I still use as it's easier for the restaurants to store in a fridge. But the plastic still bothered me, and so I started monitoring how the wine would change over time. This made me fill up boxes at a faster pace, sometimes multiple times a month, in smaller increments.
At a certain point, I finished most of the 2008 and just decided to fill the
The wines have become so good to me that about two and half years ago, we decided to start
How do you keep track of the solera?
I don’t keep track. I like to bottle 5 to 10% of the Posca
So the wine is just aging in its vessel before being added to the tank?
In fact, I have many different
Another example: I’m currently considering adding some wine from
So how many different vinifications are you making at this point? And are they all for the Posca?
I’ve got wine
We’ve talked a lot about the Posca, whose origins come from the farmer's market you organize. The market seems quite popular. What happened with that?
I'm one of the founders of the market. It is funded by the province of
How many vendors are there?
There are around 35 year-round vendors, with some occasional participants.
This leads me to another question! Tell us about those beautiful pigs of yours! You make the best mortadella I've ever tried!
The laws here for animals are very strict, which causes a lot of problems. It took a lot of time and effort to get everything in order, to let the pigs roam freely. I started with five pigs. I didn’t even really have a plan for them, but after a month I decided to make a mortadella like the world had never seen!
It's obviously a very popular cold cut around here, but most producers don’t use great meat for it. I wanted to make something in contrast to the incredibly industrialized mortadella you can get anywhere. We do it just once a year, and production is around 50 to 60 mortadellas. We don’t want to make more.
I’ve been doing these interviews since 2010, and the following question still seems to yield interesting answers: How do you feel about the current state of the organic/biodynamic/natural wine movement?
When a group of us decided to start
Not to say that I'm oblivious to the fact the movement has become increasingly popular. When this movement started, it was avant-garde. This happens in all types of fields: the arts, philosophy, literature... Even gastronomy! Nouvelle Cuisine's goal was basically to break all the rules. And there is always a faction of the avant-garde that wants to push things to its extremes.
In all of human history, new movements start in reaction to others. We should find a name for the late 1990's, where winemakers reacted against modern winemaking's standardization. This meant shunning, for example, over
What wines do you like to drink?
I drink everything. It can be from anywhere. So much is at play with wine: what I'm drinking, who I'm with, the place... It depends on so many factors.
Of course, I prefer anything that doesn’t give me a headache!