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Fratelli Degani and fellow Lombardy wine growers fear for the future

Luis Santos April 28, 2020

“When we think of history and tradition we cannot help but imagine distant and forgotten times. The past is a warm and colourful place in comparison to the mechanical coldness of the present… but not always.”

Fratelli Degani Vineyard website

Every true wine has its own characteristics gathered from soil and human expertise in the natural flow of the seasons – a must for any respectable wine producer.

It’s not uncommon to find a wine producer that holds a grudge about selling under the bio-organic label, as that is how many companies have been producing wine from the outset. It would be an insult to do so, for the company as well as the customer.

Image by Mirko Bozzato from Pixabay

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Valpolicella – a valley rich with fruit

Valpolicella means, by definition, an abundant valley, rich with fruit. A splendid and beautiful place to live.

Italy’s beautiful Lombardy region is renowned for its vast cultural heritage in not only food and wine but also its people and landscape.

To speak of a Degani is like speaking of love. While some wines are characterised by their wild dances of joy on the palate, Salice Salentino for example, selling a Valpolicella Classico Degani at table may be the easiest task for even an untrained waiter.

What’s the point of working in an Italian restaurant if you don’t have fun?

One learns a sommelier shouldn’t flourish the wine too much and, as a head waiter and wine-lover myself, words should come from the heart.

Something I truly miss in this pandemic is talking wine with the customer. Selling a genuinely good, honest wine takes no more art than getting a customer to taste it.

“There is life inside our glasses and dishes that can only be born from the respect and love the farmers have for the land in which they live.

Fratelli Degani

Having had the pleasure of selling Degani wine, it pains me to hear how things are going at the family-run vineyard. I was about to book a wine tour at the company’s aziendajust before the covid-19 outbreak.

When I contacted the company to request an interview, I was told the situation had become quite desperate because the region has been widely affected by the covid-19 pandemic.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

“In certain things tradition survives, carried on by the same loving hands of the past. Hands that caress the grapes as they have cherished the hair of the grandchildren, who, in turn, return to the grape.

Fratelli Degani website

A spokesman tells me the producer is working hard but fears how things might develop in the aftermath of the pandemic, with restaurants, pubs and wine cellars closed.

He says: “My work has completely changed and, unfortunately, with the normal channels of sale closed, there is no work. Then again, I am already in the vineyard for spring work.

“Unfortunately this period begins to be too long and surely there will be many problems, even after the virus.

“The problem is global and therefore it will be hard for everyone. The most important thing, however, is health.”

Slow Food

Over the years I have developed a strong relationship with a movement in Italy called Slow Food, which was founded by Carlo Petrini and other activists in the 1980s.

With an initial aim to defend regional traditions, good food, gastronomic pleasure and a slow pace of life, much to my joy younger people are now adopting Slow Food’s mission for change.

The movement speaks of healthy agriculture and addresses the profit-driven saturation point that has taken over our planet. Slow Food gives me hope for the future.

If you would like to learn more about the appassimento tradition or how Amarone ends up in your glass, here is a documentary about wines of northern Italy before it was struck by the evil enemy, covid-19.

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Luis has been collaborating as a content writer since 2017 with main focus on Politics and Economy, and is a self published fiction writer. A Sporting Lisbon fan, Old Trafford has played an important place in his heart over the years, as he believes a Man United line-up starring Giggs and Figo is still possible.