Lammidia is an Italian natural winery run by two of natural wines most prized winemakers - Davide Gentile & Marco Guilani, situated in the coastal town of Pescara, Abruzzo.
Abruzzo is an outstanding, overlooked agricultural region of Italy placed by the Adriatic coast with multiple natural & conventional wineries inhabiting the region, wild fig trees in every nook and cranny you could imagine as well as boasting a proud olive oil making tradition that goes back five or six generations.
Here’s an up close and personal note on how Don Davide & Don Marco run things on a day to day basis at their renowned Eastern Italian winery ;
Each day starts at the crack of dawn roughly around 6:00am sharp,
*filter coffee - savoury ham & cheese croissant - strong espresso* in that exact order...
Once these rituals are done and dusted it's off to the warehouse to check up on the packed wines, the fermenting wines in their various vessels i.e resin, metal and concrete and some exciting daily admin paperwork. Davide points out that it's very important to check the sugar levels on every single drop of fermenting wine in the warehouse each day, this helps both Marco & Davide keep up to date on where exactly their wines are in the fermenting process and as a result gives them a clear idea on what direction that specific cuvee needs to go in.
Once all the technical details have been checked and the whole team has assembled in the warehouse, at roughly 7.15am, the team head straight to the vineyard to pick whatever grapes deemed necessary for that day's target.
(Lammidias vineyard is in the quaint mountain province of Villa Celiera which is located in Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park - Europe's largest national park).
"Picking the grapes by hand is essential in the natural winemaking industry and that’s because in comparison to a large mechanised grape picking machine the touch that comes from a human's hand is a lot less disturbing for the grapes, it does way less damage and coincides with the ‘minimal-intervention’ way of working with natural wine."
Walking up and down the vines on the sunny, south facing hills of the Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park seems like a dream in the current lockdown-riddled world we live in and picking tonnes and tonnes of grapes isn’t necessarily hard work, but, it is very tedious and boring work which Davide and Marco are very well aware of so they like to switch things up and change the activity once they notice moral levels are starting to drop. Come the early afternoon (12:00pm ish) after four or five hours of what seems like never ending work, the boss usually jumps on his old school tractor, collects the baskets of freshly hand-picked grapes and packs them all case by case in to the back of a van to be brought back to the cellar 10 minute drive away.
1:00pm hits, everybody helping out stops what they are doing and heads inside to the family table where they are met with a host of traditional Italian dishes for lunch - massive bowls of pasta and homemade tomato sauce is the main culprit, sat next to an equally massive sized plate of homemade pizza slices, various cured meats & cheese and of course multiple bottles of wine to help wash down that daily heavy lunch.
What you’ll find yourself noticing each time you’re sat at the table is that these guys treat each other like blood - there’s nothing but laughter, 10/10 foods and plenty of playful verbal abuse being tossed around at any given moment. Not only does this daily dining experience bring the group closer together as a ‘family’, but it also keeps the collective spirit and energy levels high. This daily routine is so important as Davide points out because in Lammidia during a harvest season there are two main factors that need to be in the equation at all times;
- You work as hard, if not harder than the next person at all times.
With so many tasks that need to be done each day to ensure a steady harvest season, there is no time for slacking around and you need to have a lot of energy to keep up with the pace. A big family lunch in the afternoon filled with pasta and pizza can almost ensure the energy levels will stay high for the remainder of the day (of course accompanied by a strong espresso afterwards).
- A positive, happy vibe must be in the air.
It’s quite simple, if you bring negative energy at any point during the harvest it will spread like a disease onto your co-workers and as a result nobody will want to lift a finger. As this is such labour intensive work, you have to want to be there with a smile on your face because let's face it you’re in the trenches and long 12 hour days can look bleak upon first glance so positivity is essential for getting the day done.
Back To Work
After a pleasantly long lunch break with the family it's time to get back to work.
If you start the day picking grapes of the vines on the mountain, usually the second half of the day will be followed up by a new activity like pressing grapes - 4,000 litres to be exact.
Pressing grapes in nothing but your bare feet and undies also sounds quite romantic when you imagine it, similar to walking up and down the sunny vines picking grapes but I assure you this is an all hands on deck operation.
In fact, pressing grapes is a lot more labour intensive than picking the grapes because you’re not just stomping on grapes for X amount of hours, you’re taking the slightly fermented grapes out of their respective vessels, into buckets and over to the old-school press to be stomped on one more time to assure every last drop of juice is utilized.
This goes on for a couple of hours at least and can get quite repetitive, so to keep things lively amongst the team, usually you will have a glass of vino by your side and plenty of banter with your colleagues which makes you forget about the hard work at hand and focus on the lighter more important things in life
Wine + Fun.
The pressing operation can last for many hours and especially during the harvest season.
Once the job has begun it must be finished and this is something that is simply not up for debate... regardless of how tired you are.
Although once the job is finally finished, whether that's at 7.00pm, 9.00pm or 11.00pm the boys like to really let loose and chill out for the remainder of the night. As you can imagine a lot of wine is drunk throughout the harvest which can get ever so slightly boring and can also lead to palette fatigue, so what surprised me the most during my harvest experience is when Davide turned to me, after grafting our ass’ off for 14 hours and asked if wanted to go for a few pints of beer!? This was a breath of fresh air to me after nothing but wine drinking for 4 days straight, and again similar to the daily lunch routine, this after-work activity is key to keeping the lads together nice and tight as a team.
Like the pasta and pizza experience, it’s a reminder of the simpler things in life - a couple of cold beers in the night, getting drunk with your mates in the local boozer!
To check out our range of NEW Lammidia wines click here