My recent vacation in California wine country inspired me to share a few thoughts on the differences between the US wine industry and the Italian wine industry. We discuss this very subject on almost all of our Bike the Wine Roads tours in Italy. My last post, on Bell Vineyards, discussed the different perspectives on terroir, the natural environment in which the wine is produced.
Our visit to another winery, Corté Riva, brings up other contrasts between the two. My guiding partner, Vernon, often shares his perspective on cultural differences he’s experienced as an American residing in Italy. In Italy, he shares, if your grandfather was a baker, your father then became a baker, and you would be destined for the same – that is the expected route, and many Italians are quite happy having their paths laid out for them, success being measured by becoming the best baker you can be. Many wine producers in Italy are still family run, every one with a story of how their ancestors started in the business, and how future generations expand, innovate and modernize. In the US, there is much more freedom to choose a different road, with many of us encouraged to find our ‘passion’, becoming a ‘self-made’ man or woman. So that is the story behind many a California producer – individuals pursuing a dream.