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The life of a wine producer: Donatella and her time

Donatella’s race with time, wine producer, wine blogger, president of various associations with an ambition to enjoy the wonderful territory where she lives

Donatella- University- of Pisa-teaching -wine-tourism

Donatella- University- of Pisa-teaching -wine-tourism

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Fattoria del Colle – Trequanda, Casato Prime Donne, Montalcino

The worst day is Monday, and the most frenetic periods are those before and after trips abroad. Very long days with one interruption after another.

The arrival of internet has worsened the situation multiplying contacts and making holidays practically eclipse. I receive around 80 emails a day and I send off about 30. I have a very small portable computer that goes everywhere with me a, so I reply to the post even when I am away and have one wine tasting after the other and one appointment after the other. In fact when I am on the other side of the world some people seek my attention like a child pining for its mother and they write to me constantly, and in the end I reply quite curtly. After I am sorry and it takes me days to get the rapport back to normal, but I hate it when people deprive me of time when I want to think , sleep, and do things….. making me feel trapped.

Donatella-Cinelli-Colombini-Malta

Donatella-Cinelli-Colombini-Malta

This is how my holidays on my beloved isle of Gozo get reduced to three hours a day, because there is a problem, that to be solved from there takes lots of time. It is practically impossible because in the countryside there is no tradition in making appointments. Cellar staff, grape pickers, sales and tourism staff all come into my office and demand immediate attention, especially my lovely husband and volcanic daughter Violante. Read more…

Wine for dogs, with some ethical doubts

Wine, beer, tea for cats and dogs. Drinks for animals are on the up, rigorously without alcohol. For those who want to drink in the company of their pets

Wine for dogs

Wine for dogs

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, agriturismo pet friendly, Fattoria del Colle

As all pet lovers know cats and dogs cannot drink alcohol, if they do there are great risks for their health. However they adore biscuits, snack etc that pet shops sell in small extremely expensive packets. So, I making the most of the fact that pet owners go mad and buy whatever is liked by their pests the American company Apollo Peak has created a section called Pet Beverage with white , red and sparkling wines. The products have fun names such as mosCato charDOGnay …and include also special tasting glasses for our four legged friends.

Wine-for-dogs-Apollo-Peak

Wine-for-dogs-Apollo-Peak

What is most incredible is the success, products that someone like me dog lover and wine producer, would never ever buy. This is what their message more or less says: you come home tired and you want a cuddle and glass of wine, why not share this pleasure with your cat? Ok, only that the so called wine for cats and dogs made with fruit juices and organic aromatic herbs (among which cat grass), contained in an 8 oz bottle, costs around 10 dollars. Sometimes more than the wine in the owner’s glass. Read more…

Wine, good luck, and supersticious rites

Are there really wines that bring good luck, or at least are there superstitious rites regarding wine? Yes there are and not only in Italy

wine, good luck and supertitions -Fattoria-del-Colle- New -year's -eve

wine, good luck and supertitions -Fattoria-del-Colle- New -year’s -eve

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Wine, good luck and superstition. What is sure, and most know about this, is that there are some superstitious rites against bad luck that do regard wine: especially that it is very unlucky to pour with the left hand, “like a traitor” as Judas did during the last dinner. In certain areas of South Italy it is in fact considered offensive.

Also pouring wine with your palm facing upwards in inconvenient. This gesture is considered negative because many centuries ago, when in the courts the assassins used to kill with poison hidden in their rings. They used to shake the lethal powder into the glass, turning the hand that was pouring the wine upwards.

There are though also gestures that bring good luck  such if a few drops of wine get spilled during a toast, it is considered a good thing to dip your fingers in and touch behind the ears. This should make you rich.

Agriturismo-Toscana-Fattoria-del-Colle-panoramas and Brunello

Agriturismo-Toscana-Fattoria-del-Colle-panoramas and Brunello

But traditions that bind wine to good luck are not only Italian: in Spain it is a tradition (since 1909) to eat 12 grape berries during the last 12 seconds of the year, one for each bell strike, this is to bring prosperity for the next 12 months. Another good luck rite for the New Year comes from Germany, at midnight one should be dressed up, eat pink pig shaped marzipan sweets and drink Feuerzangenbowle (Fire punch) which is made with red wine, spices, orange peels and rum. Read more…

Donatella’s 2017: a rich year with a scarce harvest

With my best wishes for 2018, I am sharing some pleasant memories of 2017, that has been a really fantastic year, even though the grapes were scarce

New Year at Fattoria del Colle

New Year at Fattoria del Colle

Donatella Cinelli Colombini

2017 ,the year that has just finished, was one with fewer grape clusters but with great commercial successes. The Casato Prime Donne winery in Montalcino Fattoria del Colle in Trequanda sell wine in 37 nations and the wines from our vineyards is just about sufficient to cover all the requests. Actually for some wines like Rosso di Montalcino, Cenerentola DOC Orcia and IGT Drago e le 8 Colombe, we have sold the wines from two vintages finishing all the stock while the Brunello 2012 was rationed so we could reach Christmas. Our increase in sales shows a wonderful + 17% considering that Violante’s sales office had no Riserva to sell.

Cenerentola 2017-2018 New Year's eve at Fattoria del Colle

Cenerentola 2017-2018 New Year’s eve at Fattoria del Colle

This success is clearly also to attribute to the quality of the wines (well done the cellar girls!) and some is due to the vineyards, where a daily care of the plants – a return to old winter pruning systems and the organic regime – have permitted the production of excellent grapes even in vintages, such as the last, where the climate went a bit wild. The 2017 grape harvest was scarce especially at Fattoria del Colle where the soil is sandy and where the wild boar and deer have had a feast. After fencing off the vineyards in Montalcino next to be fenced off will be the vineyards in Trequanda.

The country inn and the restaurant went well too with a + 55% and even better the winery sales that are now a good 15% of the wine business. Read more…

Dirty glassware at the restaurant: a frequent problem

Residual soap, shoddy washings, dust …these are the most frequents problems with dirty glassware in restaurants , and the reasons why clients flee

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Agriturismo, Toscana, Fattoria del Colle

dirty-glassware-at-the restaurant

dirty-glassware-at-the restaurant

 

97% of British clients interviewed by Restaurant Show in London for a survey by the Classeq, declared that they would stop eating immediately if they discovered that they were using dirty glassware.

And the the British are not as fussy as the Japanese! Yet the idea of drinking out of dirty glasses blocks them, and how can one criticize them! The problem is more widespread than one thinks in the Cask beer report it says that one out of three glasses, among those where beer is served, is dirty, and that however 40% of them have defects (opaqueness, ruined rims etc)

dirty-gassware-at-the-restaurant

dirty-gassware-at-the-restaurant

Soap residue , or those of other chemical products left on glasses also by the glass makers can ruin the aroma and the taste of beer and wine.

Sommeliers have often underlined the necessity of “fresh” glasses to be able to offer an excellent experience to clients, and complain that this aspect is often underestimated because of bad washing equipment. To the hygienic problem the other problem is often added, smell from the detergents or of food in the case of dishwashers used for dishes, cutlery as well as for glasses.

Going back to hygiene, it is quite surprising to read the list of “the germiest things in a restaurant” taken from an  ABC News report divulged by Huffington Post Usa and then by the blog  cantello.it . Read more…

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