Adopt a Row, a vision that became real in 2016, is a community of more than 200 adopters today.
As I walked among my beloved vines in the spring of 2016, I wondered how I could get across the sensation of beauty and authenticity that I felt to the dozens of people who visit the cellar every year.
Barolo is drunk from four years after the harvest–that’s a big chunk of life!
I’ve always been convinced that a two-hour visit to the cellar is too brief to explain how much work goes into a quality bottle of wine.
The season begins in the vineyard, with pruning in January followed by tying up the shoots in February.
In March, the pruned vines are shredded and the vineyards tidied (repairing stakes and replacing odd vines…).
In April, the shoots unfurl leaves and in May the trunks are cleaned and superfluous shoots eliminated; superfluous buds are trimmed from the fruiting canes.
In June, the vines flower and the berries begin to appear; by July the grape clusters are complete and fully-formed.
Finally in August the first grapes begin to change colour and the long-awaited harvest in September or October approaches. The season closes in November with fertilising and the sowing of ground cover.
Then work in the cellar begins: three months pass from pressing the wine to decanting it into wood barrels for elevage.
From then, another three years pass before the Barolo can be bottled and then sold.If I consider that from planting a vineyard, a vine will need (at least) three years before producing its first grapes, I conclude that the road is indeed long and winding. For small, artisan makers of quality wine, planting a vineyard and making wine means leaving no detail to chance.
It means passing hours and days and months in the vineyard in all kinds of weather and then continuing with long days in the cellar. It means often missing a night’s sleep to solve the problems of each particular harvest, because each year is always different.
Every day winegrowing teaches me this: the art of resilience.
This is how the ‘Adopt a Row’ project came about–to make my vision of involving people in the ‘behind the scenes’ aspect of my work a reality.
In 2017, the project took off and thanks to Marco, my right hand, the community is now a Family sharing the values of the world of wine, which go far beyond the hedonism of a good bottle of wine.
We have an authentic connection with many of the adopters (some of whom have been part of the project for several years).
Welcoming the adopters to the cellar, accompanying them around the vineyards and explaining the reasons for various choices, delving into arguments that are often discussed only superficially, all these things are fantastic!
Adopt a Row has also changed my own outlook–I have an added responsibility for the wine I make as it will also go to the adopters.
More than anything however, it has enriched my life, both professionally and in in sense of fellowship.
The Harvest celebration in October has become the opportunity to crowd around a table every year and toast not only the winding up of the season, but also the joy of sharing!