Italy, October – November - December 2015

The quality of wine. Chapter XIV”

The climate trend was particularly favourable at harvest time and enabled me to conclude all the work in the vineyard in the best way possible, including manuring, fertilisation that I consider absolutely essential for excellent soil management.

I racked the wine, which I really liked and the quantity compensates for the very small amount of the 2014 vintage; I am also particularly pleased because there are ten full barrels in the cellar (though three are quite small).

The Italian wine market is getting deeper into crisis, with a lengthening of payment times, higher supply and lower consumption; I was not unprepared for this situation, as I had already realised in 2011 that we would get to this extremely difficult market crisis: therefore I have gradually increased foreign sales and in 2015 I only sold 4% of my 12,500 bottles in Italy.

The regional Tuscan law of 2015 authorising the enrichment of musts with a maximum of 1.5 degrees, dates from the middle of September; this is for the whole of Tuscany and for all wines, including DOCs, DOCGs and IGTs!!!

In this context, I would like to tell you about a catalogue of about a hundred products that I received from a well-known company producing chemicals for must and wine, for example:

 

omissis…”cherry-flavoured product which expresses notes of red fruit”

omissis…”product that guarantees the aromas and flavours that you want to confer to your wines”.

Adulterated foods continue to be confiscated, particularly oil in this period; the news these days is that 90% of saffron that arrives on our tables is false.

A study by the World Health Organisation has caused a stir, launching the alarm that “processed meat is one of the cancer-causing foods”, from the results of 800 epidemiological studies. This should make us reflect a lot, especially for food for children, who mustn’t consume alcohol, also because their liver is not ready; in my family, serving wine before the age of 15 has always been banned and, after that age, and up to twenty, very sparingly (recent studies have scientifically proven how harmful alcohol is for minors).

My friend Franco Lucchesi, President of the Opera del Duomo in Florence, took me and some other friends round the recently-opened new museum, it was an unforgettable experience; we have a world-class museum in Florence, with rare organisation and exceptional exhibits, therefore I recommend that everyone visits the Opera. It will also be a chance to visit Florence again.

The reasons for the sentences condemning the managers of Alitalia have been filed and it has been confirmed that the company was bending to political and trade union interests; naturally all of this has cost the Italian taxpayer billions of euros. Pietro Iocca, President of the Supervisory Board of INPS (social security service), has reported that that organisation could lose 10 billion euros a year in the next ten years; this is what the president claimed during a hearing at the Chamber of Deputies.

The national press has commemorated Don Lorenzo Milani, in my opinion a very important figure, innovator, writer, sociologist and teacher in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.  I would like to recommend that everyone reads (or rereads) his books: “Pastoral Experiences”, “Obedience is No Longer a Virtue” and “Letter to a Teacher”, texts that are still current today and that all young people should know.

The Paris attacks last November, apart from the indignation, shock and pain for the many lives destroyed, made me reflect  and recall other similar situations:

  • In Algeria in the 1950s and 1960s the war of independence with endless atrocities on both sides, France and Algeria: torture, genocide, the destruction of whole villages with women and children; bombs, explosives in cinemas, restaurants, bars etc… both in Algeria and in France. De Gaulle was called back to govern and he reached an agreement with Ben Bella, head of the Algerians; all French citizens in Algeria left the colony; all Algerians that wanted to leave their country could choose to go to France with the same rights as French citizens; in 1961 De Gaulle had to face the French Algerians with the army, who attempted a coup d’état in France, but he managed to get the agreement respected and so the attacks, torture and, on the other side, attacks against civilians, stopped immediately, both in Algeria and in France.
  • In Vietnam ten years of war with destruction and terrible massacres and, also there, civilians – women, children and elderly people – suffered terrible torture, wounds and killings. With a knife to the heart of American citizens and a very high number of dead and wounded soldiers; certainly, after the flight of American soldiers from Saigon, the moral trauma that swept across the United States was huge.

Twenty years later, Vietnam and USA do trade together and American citizens travel to Vietnam. Such suffering, pain, destruction of life and nature, all in vain and completely meaningless! All of this would not have happened if the Americans hadn’t sent troops into Vietnam and if they had let the Vietnamese sort out their own political problems.

I have been writing and saying for over 15 years that every country should solve its own political problems and that any external intervention only serves to heighten the conflict with infinitely more destruction, death and pain.

Season’s greetings to all readers and a great 2016!