I am the winegrower in the family, and the master of all things olive.
Being the only one of my siblings (besides my twin sister) not born in Sicily, my family ties span from California to Chicago to Italy. I grew up in Chicago speaking Italian at home, drinking the "Dago Red" wine made by my brother Guiseppe (Joe), and rooting for the Cubs. I faithfully return several times a year to include my young California-born son, Paolo, in the lives of my large, spirited Italian-American family.
From Father to Son
My forefathers were all farmers living off the land in Montemaggiore, Italy where my grandfather taught my father to raise food and hunt. My "green thumb" descends from my father who had a reputation for growing the best tomatoes in all Chicago. His organic peasant farming techniques first piqued my interest in Biodynamic® viticulture. My father's secret was grass clippings and horse manure to crowd out the weeds and build up the soil—very similar to the cover crops and Biodynamic compost I use today on our grapevines and olive trees in Dry Creek Valley.
Italian Quality of Life
My first trip to Italy was as an adult, and I fell in love with the quality of life in the small hill towns. At the time, my job was headquartered in London but I worked and traveled all over Europe, with many side trips to visit my relatives in Tuscany and Sicily. I acquired an affinity for wine, especially appreciating the French Syrahs and Cabernet blends. My cousins Mercurio and Michele, who make wine, olive oil, and prosciutto in Siena, introduced me to other personal favorites: the spicy olive oil and Super Tuscan wines of the region. I love the slower pace of life in Italy, and their focus on the land, food, and family.