I didn’t plan to take the SLOW ROUTE to get to the huge celebration of Slow Food in Torino, Italy called Terra Madre but that’s exactly what happened! For my first trip to Italy from Southern California, a missed connection in NYC meant overnight on the floor (and a cupboard!) in two terminals at JFK…
Did you know you can’t lay on the floor at JFK?
Even if you see lots of people sleeping on the ground, you’re not allowed! However, it was only when they found me sleeping in this cupboard charging all the things that they rousted me out at 6am.
After a long night of not really sleeping, I found a quiet sunny spot to restore myself with a little yoga…
and made my plane where I watched the sun set over NYC and the sun rise in Paris and arrived in Milan, Italy only to learn Delta left my luggage behind. Addressing THAT meant missing my bus to Torino…
But I finally made it to Torino, walked 2 miles to my hotel and then walked around Terra Madre, and eventually found the press office thanks to these new friends:
And I even met up with wine friends Robbin Gheesling and Jim Morris not once but twice!
I also made a new friend, Carmen Wallace. Carmen works for Slow Food and she once worked as the administrative assistant to Carlo Patrini! Carmen and I even attended together a Slow Food dinner with wine at Eataly where I met this winemaker!
What an amazing meal that was! (A subject for another day!) So naturally I invited Carmen to join my panel on Slow Wine and Slow Food at the Wine Media Conference — more on that below!
The train from Torino to Desenzano del Garda was not without its own level excitement but that’s also a story for another day!
And now I’m in Desenzano del Garda at the Wine Media Conference where I had a full day visiting Lugana on Wednesday, a day that combined work with sessions on Thursday, then a full day of conference content today. (So excited to share all about Lugana with you!)
I present tomorrow, Saturday Oct. 1 about Slow Food and Slow Wine with a fine panel of Slow Food/ Slow Wine experts! (See below for all the details!) Believe, me, I am packing every day as full as I can to get the most out of this experience in Italy… while still teaching college online AND finalizing Slow Wine Guide entries and planning the rest of the visit which is NOT going to include competing for TEAM USA in the Wine Tasting Championship in Champagne next weekend. More on THAT subject soon!
Here’s the official description of the panel:
An Introduction to Italy’s Slow Food and Slow Wine Movements: “In the name of productivity, the ‘fast life’ has changed our lifestyle and now threatens our environment,” wrote Carlo Petrini in the Slow Food Manifesto. Join Slow Food Italy‘s Carmen Wallace, winemakers Luca Formentini of Podere Selva Capuzza in Lugana, Antonella Manuli of Fattoria La Maliosa in Maremma, Francesca Petrussa of Vigna Petrussa in Friuli andGwendolyn Alley, Slow Wine Guide USA Field Coordinator and winner of Jancis Robinson’s Wine Writing Contest, on regenerative agriculture for a conversation about what it means to grow food and make wine in a way that’s “good, clean, fair.” Learn how the Slow Food movement led to Slow Wine in Italy, then in the US, China, and beyond. What makes a food or wine “slow”? What is regenerative agriculture? Why is everyone from Patagonia to Jancis Robinson talking about regenerative agriculture? Is this just greenwashing or does how we grow grapes make a difference for the planet or the palate? What contributions can we in wine media make to the conversation?
Here are the bios of my panelists:
Wine and music producer Luca Formentini leads the family winery Podere Selva Capuzza as the fourth generation in the business. His strong sensitivity in environmental protection brought him to be the first producer to be awarded as the “green wine maker” by Corriere della Sera in 2021. He’s volunteered as president of several consorzi and associations (Lugana from 2013 to 2019, San Martino della Battaglia from 1989 to 2008 and Strada dei Vini del Garda). He’s been speaker at the Society of Wine Educators, the American Wine Society, Wine Bloggers’ Conference and he’s a regular lecturer at several universities on the subject of sustainability and local tourism. In addition to speaking on the Slow Food, Slow Wine panel, his winery hosted the dinner for the Lugana excursion.
An entrepreneur in the field of sustainable farming and wine production, Antonella Manuli was raised in Italy, Switzerland and the United States. She finished her university studies in Business Administration in California, where she met and shared in the values of the Organic Movement. She returned to Italy to work in the field of auditing and finance, before landing in the Tuscan Maremma and running, for ten years, the Terme di Saturnia Spa Resort. Fascinated by the territory because of its beauty and unique historical and environmental characteristics, she started searching for the land for an agricultural start-up which has now become the Fattoria La Maliosa organic farm, producing natural wines, extra virgin olive oil and honey. With the agronomist and researcher Prof. Lorenzo Corino she developed the viticultural project since 2013, consolidating and developing together some highly innovative closed-cycle agronomic techniques for an ever greater sustainability of wine and olive production. Their work focusing on a process for the production of grapes and natural wine is now codified with the name of “Metodo Corino” (registered patent and trademark, 2019). She also collaborated with Prof. Corino in numerous cultural dissemination and training projects, including as editor of the book “The Essence of wine and natural viticulture” and as co-author of the essay “Vegetal biodynamics, the future of natural wine“, published by the Istud Foundation – Mondadori University. Her vision and goals are to achieve sustainability not only for the good of the environment but also for people, from workers to consumers drinking her wine and her olive oil.
Francesca Petrussa was born in Veneto from a family of long standing wine producers. In fact her grandfather used to distribute wine in the Trieste region since the first half of 1900. Since childhood she was involved in family dynamics linked to the wine world and the wine production. When her grand father passed away, her grandmother drove the business and Francesca represent effectively the third generation of female management of the vineyard. Francesca studied Architecture in Florence and in 1998, after graduation, moved to London to work as an architect. Her passion for Architecture allowed her to became a senior figure in one of the most dynamic retail companies in Europe leading the global expansion and opening shops all over the world including Russia, India and Japan. But the passion for Architecture could not keep her away from the calling of the wine and in 2011 she moved back to Italy to run Vigna Petrussa with her mother Hilde. With her sparkling personality, international mindset and aesthetic creativity she was the perfect complement for her mum Hilde, which in turn represents painstaking care of the vineyard and the grapes, tradition in winemaking and respect for the rhythms of nature. Together they are driving Vigna Petrussa forward with ever more care for sustainability and quality, a new creative livery which they are taking to new countries across the globe and a feminine touch that you’ll always be able to recognize in their bottles and in their wines.
Does any of this travel drama upset me? How would being angry help? Does it deter me from wanting to travel more??? No!
Travel is definitely worth all the ups and downs! The people you meet, the places you go, what you see: it’s all worth it to me.
I look forward to seeing more of the world and especially the wine world in person — and not just in the bottom of my glass!
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What an adventure you had! I was glad to be a small part of it! Here’s to hanging with goats and crazy winemakers!
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Yes! Fun to spend some time with you and Michael in person in Valtellina and at the conference and not just online!