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
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.
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.
Many visitors are convinced that we wine producers live an idyllic life admiring the panorama, so they just drop by, at home or in the office without forewarning thinking that this way they will interrupt for a moment our boring life. It is quite the opposite. To these interruptions there are also the unexpected, and especially on the phone (fortunately in the countryside mobile don’t function so well), urgent requests via email…in the end to have three things started at the same time requires great concentration and causes a high risk of mistakes. So for this reason every challenging activity is done in the evening or at the weekend, whittling down time for relaxation.
So night time is quite busy too: English to practice watching wine videos – those produced by LCBO are more apt – and trying to repeat phrases that could be useful in work conversations. I go to bed after 1 am and obviously get up late. A habit that depends a lot on my husband Carlo Gardini and his hatred for the alarm clock.
In the summer there are tourists that respect my privacy but do however appreciate a chat and a photo together. In the winter there is the planning of events, of renovations and so strategic decisions that direct the investments and for wine the so called “book of dreams” a chart with the projection of sales from her for the next 4 years. You might not believe this but now the reality surpasses the dreams.
The race is worst before the holidays, from beginning of July to half way through august and from November ‘til Christmas. All requests are urgent as if the world were to end and as if everything stated months ago needs finishing immediately.
I have little time for friends and for the associations of which I am a member. I see practically more of my friends that live in Gozo-Malta than those who live in Tuscany. There is a couple that lives close to me in Siena and has a home in Malta; well I see them only there. To save time I have begun to buy clothes, scarves, glasses creams always in the same places. I have less possibility of choice but I can depend on good advice from people who know my tastes, who might chose from the Armani collection something just eight for my figure (not tall and a bit round!)
Regardless of cutting here and there I really have few hours for shopping. I envy those who go to all lunches and all events. I cannot manage it; I turn down the majority of invitations, and often even those that interest me.
Often I get asked <<but where do you get the time to write articles for you blog?>>. In truth reading and writing are the only luxuries for me, time I cut out for just me. Obviously I would very much prefer to take part in conferences, but still my curiosity gets tickled. And then of course the satisfaction of meeting journalists, who write real articles, <<I often read your posts>>. Even though I do wonder at what they might find of interesting in the modest things I
write, and however I do feel a little proud. Another pleasure for me is a walk with Felix my dog, this way I can keep my eye on the vines and say a prayer. Yes, to pray and thank God for all I have had from life is the minimum I can do!