Vinitaly Sideways 2008 - Part 1
Loris Scagliarini – Photographs: L. Scagliarini, B. Solé-March - April 7, 2008
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When we land in Bologna on April 1st, 2008, Brigit is white as a sheet, cold as ice, and shaking with a fever. She has evidently suffered a case of food poisoning during the San Francisco-Bologna trip and I am very worried about her.
Luckily, Rita, our excellent friend who picks us up at airport, in addition to being an amazing fresco artist is also a certified nurse, and thus immediately calls a doctor friend. As soon we get to Castelfranco Emilia I get Brigit to bed and Rita goes to the local pharmacy, picks up some medicine and gives Brigit an injection. She leaves with us several other drugs and Brigit, who by now has vomited or otherwise expelled everything she had eaten during the trip, falls asleep. When she wakes up over 12 hours later her lovely face shows color again and she's hungry. Following Rita's advice, we go over to my mom's where Brigit has boiled rice with extra virgin olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for both lunch and dinner. As a result, on Wednesday, April 3, 2008, when we go to the opening of the 42nd Vinitaly trade show in Verona Brigit's almost back to normal.
I had almost decided to skip coming back to Europe this time, as the trip is so close to the February/March one that I took to participate in the first Monte Carlo Wine Festival, but am very glad to have followed Brigit's advice and come. This time, another old friend of mine, Antonio Manicardi, has provided us with a Mercedes ML SUV, the car which his accounting firm provides to out-of-town clients when they need it.
As usual, Thursday and Friday, the first two days of the five-day wine show, are a whirlwind of meetings, tastings, appointments, and phone calls, as we move from exhibition hall, to producer's booth and press room. With us, are WineCountry.IT's Italian marketing manager, Cristo Lepori, and Massimo Margelli with his California wife, Cara Cacciatore, who are planning to move to California with their two small children and two big dogs. Back in the States, Massimo will take over the management of the company's Italian quality wine and food distribution.
By the time that we return to the wonderfully frescoed Castelfranco Emilia apartment which Rita and her husband Gastone have lent us, as they have done for years now every time that we visit, we are so tired and worn out that we are both in bed by 9PM.
Saturday, April 5, 2008, we visit the Azienda Agricola Alberto Monti, on the outskirt of Castelfranco, where the young owner, known by everyone as Il Berto, explains us the different pruning methods used for the Lambrusco and Pignoletto vines because of the characteristics of the plant. It's so refreshing to listen to a young entrepreneurs such as Berto who, 12 years ago started planting vines in his free time out of love for this business and, six years later, dropped everything to pursue it full time. His eyes sparkle with passion as he explains to us how he knows all his vines almost to a vine, as the shepard or pastor know his sheep and cattle.
For the evening we gather with our Italian friends at Enrico and Donatella home, overlooking Castelfranco's Piazza Garibaldi, for a potluck which could have fed an entire third world nation. Rita and daughter Valentina, the tireless artists that they are, have brought over a puppet theater set that they built from scratch for a show created to entertain the kids of the local pre-elementary school and orphanage the previous day, and entertain us with a funny rendition of 'The Three Little Pigs.'
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