As we are amidst the season of Miami’s iconic South Beach Wine & Food Festival, it seems appropriate to turn our attention to the region where many of these wonderful wines are grown and produced. Long before we actually acquire and enjoy our vino, it has gone through vigorous, complex steps, embarking on a long journey before it hits our lips.
I recently visited Piedmont, Italy, a vast and hilly territory located about one hour south of Milan, where many of these vineyards are located. I witnessed miles of valleys and long stretches of vineyards, as far as the eye could see. The land is a protected territory, only allowed for use by vintners and farmers, which helps keep it pristine. And, of course, I sampled some magnificent wines. Piedmont and its surrounding areas are known for their farms, vineyards and rich truffles. Many of these vineyards are passed down from generation to generation. For example, my dear friend Maurizio Campiglio’s property has been in their family since 1850, formerly owned by his grandfather and then passed down to his children, and now the grandchildren. They refer to the property as “our country home.” Maurizio’s grandfather was a well-known vintner in the early 1900s and their vineyards still produce wonderful wines such as Barbera, Moscato and Alba Rossa, to name a few. The breathtaking property and vineyards tell their own story, with mature vines and historic landscapes that are astounding. While standing amongst rows of vines, it was a magnificent yet humbling feeling to be in the midst of nature’s marvels. It was delightful to sample wine and feel the sunshine from every direction. Harvest season is from August to October, and during this time Piedmont and the surrounding towns draw wine lovers from all over the world. The area is also known for its medieval origins and cathedrals, many of which are still open to the public.
This was a special experience, one that had more meaning because I have known the family for many years and felt a connection to their farmland and heritage. I have a different respect and admiration for winemaking these days. The hard work, time and patience that go into it are admirable, and the love for the process is palpable. Wine and truffles equal sweet sensations. Cheers!