The Goretti Story | " I am the face of wine!" - Q&A with Sara Goretti from Goretti Wines, Umbria
Updated: Jan 31
The grandmother, known to everyone as Nonna Marcella, is still involved in the business and at the age of 84 is as effervescent and sprightly as ever. She is the first to arrive at work and the last to go home at night. Her passion for cooking typical Umbrian dishes and making wines that perfectly accompany them, combined with a well deserved daily siesta from midday till 3pm are the important ingredients in keeping her so active.
Referred to affectionately as an “Evergreen” and the winery’s “mascot”, Nonna Marcella is always eager to chat with everyone who visits the winery, suggesting recipes and wine pairings. She has been involved in the business for over 50 years. However, she started working as a kindergarten teacher for 30 years before her involvement in the family business, many of those years coinciding of course with her other job: helping her family to produce wine. Together with her husband, Nonno Gisberto, Nonna Marcella improved the quality of the bulk wine they sold to restaurants and grocery stores. (Long before there were supermarkets in Italy).
Today Sara Goretti, an enologist herself, has added a new dimension by promoting their wines internationally, winning recognition from around the globe as the quality of their wines continues to improve, having enlisted the help of well-known enologist, Emiliano Falsini. Sara is very astute at understanding how the needs and tastes of clients in different countries varies according to cultural influences and she targets production and sales with this in mind.
Q | How many family members are involved in your business?
A | My sister Giulia and our father work on the administrative side of the business while my uncle is responsible for the technical aspects of the wine production and on the 52 hectares of vineyards our family own, along with a stunning property completed with 14th Century tower, ample grounds and the modern addition of a heli-pad which allows guests coming to visit by helicopter to access Florence in 40 minutes and Rome in an hour from their idyllic location just outside Perugia.
We are musing on a fifth generation to continue the Goretti family tradition and business. I have a son, Piergiorgio, who is nearly 3, and my sister is about to give birth to a baby girl, Beatrice. Four generations back, there were my great grandparents making wine, then my grandparents, then two brothers in the following generation - Sara´s and Giulia´s father and uncle - then, the current two sisters and, who knows, perhaps two cousins in the future, one a girl and one a boy. This thought delights me and all the family! We have big ambitions for how to grow and improve business, which is already a great legacy for future generations.
How did winemaking start for you?
A | As with the previous Goretti generations, me and my sister Giulia grew up helping out in the family business. Unlike many of our contemporaries working in family wineries, we never considered not doing so. Our passion grew with the hard work we were able to put in, working from 8a.m. to 8p.m. every day - I think we have inherited it from our grandmother, Nonna Marcella.
The wine business has always been exciting for me, you know… In my university studies, I researched wine therapy and how to make face and body creams using grapes. I had all the raw materials I needed at home, so it was easy to experiment in this area.
Q | As Umbria wine producer how do you see competition with Tuscany?
A | Tuscany is actually a great asset, not competition (smiles)! All serious well-organized wine importers already have their portfolio of wines from Tuscany but when they explore locally and pop over the border to Umbria, they find wines that are less commercial, more genuine and of course there is an enticing price difference while quality still remains consistently high. So we, the Gorettis, remain very optimistic about the future of our winery and look forward to opening our doors, once again, to visitors and returning clients from all over the world.
Q | What percentage of your wine is exported?
A | Our annual production is around 200,000 bottles plus wine in bulk. We are equipped to bottle up to a million bottles a year and the goal is to stop producing bulk wine which usually goes into the bottles of other producers, and sell all our wine in bottles under our own name.
Currently 38% of our bottled wine is exported. But I would love to see that figure grow with more and more clients abroad, especially in America.
Q | What do you usually drink at home?
A | At home, usually, we have our own wine. Sometimes we drink it before it is even bottled... Other times, we drink wine from other local producers not far from us, in order to know better how they are evolving. It also happens we drink from other countries - something that in Italy we do not do often - so, again, to know what kind of trends are happening around the world, and what kind of developments or improvements we can apply to our winemaking process, knowing our terroir so well as we do...
Q | What kind of food do you usually eat?
A | We, as most part of italians, are very patriotic regarding food choices… I do not know the reason for that… That is why at our table we eat mostly italian food with local inspiration. We eat mostly meat because we are a bit far from the sea. For instance, “pollo alla rabbiata”, “tagliatelle” on Sundays - even yesterday we had it - “torta al testo”, “foccacia al salumi e formaggi” those are the things we like eating on a regular basis. And then we are fortunate enough to have lake Trasimeno very near us. We do not have sea fish (which we eat sometimes) but we have lake fish which must be as fresh as it can, in order to be served at our table!
Q | What are your travel plans, if any?
A | I´ve always been accustomed to travel around, but, unfortunately, for obvious reasons, we can not currently do that. I hope that, at least, next September I will be able to go to the United States. That would be something that I would really enjoy, so to develop other forms of collaboration there and pay a visit to our wine distributors.
Q | What do you do for fun?
A | Here in Umbria we are fortunate to be very near art cities such as Rome, Firenze, Siena which are not far. Tours are always something we enjoy doing - for instance, to Assisi. Also the Trasimeno lake provides for some entertainment.
All fotos from Goretti Wines Instagram & Facebook
Goretti "La Mura Saracene" Montefalco Rosso DOCG 2017, Umbria
The Montefalco Rosso is a beautiful expression of Sangiovese, Merlot and Sagrantinto. It gives beautiful and heady aromas of red fruit, licorice, vanilla and cocoa. The flavors are intense and layered with currants, raspberries, tobacco and coffee. The wine has generous tannins and long, lush finish.
Pair it alongside pasta dishes with intense tomato sauce, roasted and grilled meats, spicy chicken, beef, lamb, game or cheeses.
Grape Varieties: 65% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot, 20% Sagrantino |