“Without a story, there is no life as life is made up of vignettes of loving, learning and overcoming.”
Without a story, to me, there is no wine, in a holistic sense. Sure, there is the bottle, the liquid poured in the glass – red, white or rose’ – and its smell and its taste and superficial thoughts like, “Was it worth what I paid for it?” and “Would I buy it again?”
But so much more than that, a wine to me is its story, the sum of its parts – most of all, the journey of the winemaker’s heart. How wonderful it is to have some personal connection to where the wine comes from and the people who make it, to take a sip and be transported to sun-dappled slopes and the earthiness of vines grown with loving care in the good old ways of past centuries.
Which brings me to Donna Elvira.
An extraordinary and challenging year has to have some positives, and for us, it is our new relationship with Tony Fink of Donna Elvira Wines, who will be our primary supplier going into the future. Tony tells his story from his heart.
“My mother, Donna Elvira, was a strong, hot-headed Italian with a huge heart that she wore on her sleeve. She was the core of our family. My father, Artur, was an Austrian, reserved man of few words. My belief is he never got over the Second World War, it was something he never wanted to talk about. He taught me the meaning of respect and hard work.
They met in the UK in the 1950’s, eventually retiring to Italy to grow and eat organic food and poultry and enjoy a simple, slower pace of life where the sun shone 250 days a year.”
Tony married a beautiful English girl called Kay and, though they started their life together in Campania, they moved to the UK in 1995 – but could never forget the part of Italy that Sophocles called the home of Bacchus, God of wine. In 2010 they could resist its draw no longer and returned to finish their love story with the place of their hopes and dreams.
“We bought our first lands in the sweet spot for these grapes: 400-450m above sea level, south-facing. We cleared the land of the boulders from the volcanic eruptions of Vesuvius and Vulture from the late Stone Age. We lovingly planted our first vines and spent the next ten years pruning, tying, cleaning them and more importantly, learning, the same way you learn when you have your first child.”
“Today,” he says, engagingly, “we are humble and proud to present the first wines that were made from our love of this land.”