Just shy of living in Italy for a year and a half now, and we are finally able to welcome our first guests! And what better activity to do on their first full day then to take them to a winery! I mean, it’s me we’re talking about… of course wine would be first on our list, haha. In all fairness though, when we first started talking about things our guests were interested in doing while they visited, their only response was, “wine and food.” Simple. Italy is created on wine and food. I can do that! But I needed a little help in choosing the right place. So I reached out to a wine sommelier in the area, Alessia Canarino, and asked for her advice. I fist met Alessia through her wine classes back in the winter. She made all the arrangements and met us there on the day of!
Donna Chiara Winery, Montefalcione (Avellino)
As we pulled up to the winery, I buzzed in at the gate and we were let in to wind our way down the paved path leading to the house. The rows of cypress trees on the sides and the mountainous view around made me feel like we were back in Tuscany.
The Donnachiara Winery is on a beautiful hill on the slopes of Montefalcione. Here the vineyard of Fiano di Avellino goes down steeply as if it wants to run away and is surrounded by green hills dotted with ancient villages and the beautiful mountains of Montevergine and Chiusano. It’s a fairy tale landscape extending itself to the ridge that divides the river basins of Sabato and Calore at about 560 meters above sea level. The main feature of the area is its position between chestnut, oak, and juniper woods that alternate with olive trees, vines, and fruit trees. The origins of Montefalcione date back many centuries before the Christian Era. This is confirmed by documents and testimonial that mention the dominations of Etruscans, Samnites, and Romans over the years.http://www.donnachiara.com/en/donnachiara-winery/
We listened to explanations of the wine like we have never heard explanations before, while enjoying some delicious accompanying dishes. Instead of the normal talk of tannins, perfumes, and color, these wines were explained to us in terms of scenery. For example: “This is a wine that tastes like enjoying a cigar on the balcony after sex,” or “This is a wine that is like sitting on the beach and eating spaghetti alle vongole.” It was a very descriptive way of describing the wines, painting an image of feelings that portrays the wines. It’s a little complicated to explain but it was beautifully done.
I also have to add another selection of unconventional wine that they are working on called, “Kapemort.” I heard the story and I fell in love with this project!
This project looks to revolutionize the image and way of communicating around wines that are “Made in Italy” through a concept label. The label is not linked to a specific territory, it’s a label that looks to innovate the traditional system, placing itself squarely in the tradition of mass culture as part of a philosophy that encompasses and loos to revolutionize the classic approach to wine. The Kapemort concept label which is inspired by the skull, a Pop, Cool, Fashion, unconventional icon that is able of attracting a transversal audience of potential consumers who are not necessarily wine connoisseurs. It’s a wine within everyone’s reach, easy to drink, it’s an expression of creative freedom and of the “take it easy” philosophy because life is so brief…
Why the skull?
The skull is a style icon, it is a rock icon, transgressive and international, a figurative obsession much loved by great painters and many others, often recurring in the history of art, it’s the symbol of the vanity of everything. The Kapemort labels designed by Alex Caminiti are a result of our collaboration with the Sicilian artist, an exponent of the Italian informal movement in the world. The labels are linked to the esoteric tradition of Naples. Naples is a city linked to mystery, alchemy, and myth. The six disruptive and provocative labels, typical of Caminiti’s art, are taken from his collection “The Skull.” They are an opportunity for story telling that match legendary origins of Naples..
I refer to “Esoteric Naples” and to the Fontanelle Cemetery located in the heart of Rione Sanità, one of the most evocative places in Naples… But lets get to the link between the skull and the wine. If the wine is good and appreciated, in Neapolitan it is said that “you feel it in the head of death.” What is the origin of this saying, still quite widespread in the Neapolitan language? The reference to the skull probably comes from the legend of King Alboin. The king of the Longobards, in the story, forced his wife Rosmunda to drink from the paternal skull. A strong image that must have influenced the local language. And then the skull became an icon of good wine, of drinking with pleasurable wine capable of defeating bad luck!
Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!