I was on holiday in Italy with my family recently and we went to visit Jarno Trulli’s vineyard, Podere Castorani, which is about an hour outside Pescara on Italy’s Adriatic Coast.
The Abruzzo region is Italy’s third most important wine growing region and it has more grapes growing there than there are in the whole of Australia.
I’ve been wanting to go there for years, as a big fan of Italian red wines and particularly Jarno’s. He uses Montepulciano grapes and the wines have a lovely rounded taste.
Jarno’s grandfather was a wine maker and he spent a lot of time with him among the vines when he was a kid. Jarno’s manager Lucio Cavuto is also from a wine making family. Together they bought the estate, which dates back to 1793 and the two families have invested around £5 million into the business and brought it up to the point where they now have 26 different wines in their range. They sell 800,000 bottles a year and are regularly winning prizes around the world. One of their white wines recently won the International Wine Challenge in the UK. Their target is to sell 2 million bottles a year and to be one of the most important winemakers in Italy.
The estate owns 35 hectares of vines, with another 40 hectares rented from neighbours. They are currently building accommodation, so up to 30 people at a time can stay there. The old house was due to be part of this programme, but it was damaged in the recent earthquake and may have to be totally rebuilt.
Jarno is passionate about his wines and had a hand in developing the premium wine in the range, a full bodied red wine called Jarno. When he gets talking about it you can see his passion and depth of knowledge.
Typical of someone who works in Formula 1, the attention to detail and quest for perfection are clear to see. They use modern versions of the old vertical press system, which is far more time consuming and expensive than the new horizontal presses used by most large scale winemakers, but it means better quality wine and that is what matters to them. Everything is about quality.
They use natural corks and these take 48 hours to settle once the wine has been bottled. In a perfect world you should turn the bottles several times during this period. Most people can’t be bothered, but at Podere Castorani they turn the bottles. It’s that classic F1 mentality of paying attention to the details.
Each of the partners has clear responsibilities; Jarno is in charge of publicity and image. He makes a number of sales trips every year, particularly to the USA and Canada, which is their number one market.
After the visit we all went to a nearby restaurant for lunch, which lasted about 3 hours. Podere Castorani welcomes visitors, so if you find yourself in the area, drop in, take a look around and have a taste.