Resolve to be More Positive

We will soon be ringing in the new year, 2021, and saying bye-bye to the long and quite traumatizing year of 2020. It has not been an easy year, it has been trying for us all, especially in the wine world, and filled with one blow after another. As if a pandemic was not enough, the US was hit by social unrest and riots due to the killing of George Floyd, earthquakes as the latest one just days ago in Croatia, flooding in Naples, scandals of sexual harassment in the US wine world, and much more.

We cannot wait for a hopefully brighter 2021, right?

There are still some positive things to be found in 2020 and we would like to lift up some wonderful connections that we have made this year. We have chosen three positive things – two articles and one video – about us by three different wine writers and wine influencers. We also asked the three to say something about their view on 2020 and their hopes for 2021.

Exotic Wine Travel talks about Fattoria di Montemaggio

We sent some samples to Matthew Horkey and Charine Tan aka Exotic Wine Travel in the late spring. They have been waiting out Covid in Croatia most of the year. They made a YouTube video where they talk about our chianti Classico 2014, among others. Matthew describes it as a

“…classic, classic sour cherry, a cedar-kind-of notes that you get in Sangiovese. A little bit of pine, which is interesting. Considering the vintage, this is very good. This is like classic Chianti Classico.”

They also reviewed our wine on Vivino and posted about them on their Facebook page. We are really happy that they enjoyed our wines so much.

We asked Matthew to comment on 2020 and talk about his hopes for 2021:

This year was tough on all of us. My thoughts go out to everyone who was affected, producers and those in HORECA. It wasn’t the greatest year but it might be one that signifies a much-needed turning point in wine communication. Things aren’t perfect but I saw strides in the right direction.

I am thankful for many things in 2020. Especially that I got the chance to taste plenty of wines from Tuscany – the land of my first wine crush. One of the best value for money Tuscan wines I had last year is the Montemaggio, Chianti Classico. It has plenty of Tuscan flair and structure with a price that doesn’t break the bank. Isn’t that what all of us want and need?

See the best Tuscan wineries and taste amazing organic red wine

Jill Barth delves deeper into our skincare line on Forbes

In early spring, just after the lockdown due to Covid had kicked in, Valeria decided to launch the new skincare products a bit earlier to try and pivot and diversify during the tough period. The skincare creams are organic and produced with stem cells from red grapes (Solar Vitis), essential oils, and vegetable granulates.

Jill Barth who has already written about Fattoria di Montemaggio got interested and reached out to learn more about the beauty products. It resulted in the article How Fattoria Di Montemaggio, Chianti Wine Estate, Diversified In 2020 in Forbes. There she wrote about Valeria and how she, as mentioned above, decided to launch the beauty creams earlier than planned. The idea had been to sell the creams to the tourists visiting the estate but obviously that has not been possible during 2020.

Jill, furthermore, underlines how Valeria wants to develop and fine-tune the beauty products over time and that she is also waiting for the organic certification to come through. Jill writes that

“…the products feel like a natural extension of Zavadnikova’s signature; she is respected by her customers and peers for her sense of vision and dedication to quality, as well as a commitment to organics. Supported by a talented team, including Ilaria Anichini, the estate’s director, and agronomist, Zavadnikova has built a small-batch, family-run estate that is recognized by Chianti fans around the world.”

Thank you, Jill, for helping to spread the word about our beauty creams.

We also asked Jill about her thoughts on 2020 and her hopes for 2021:

In some ways, I felt like the world became closer in 2020. The wine industry shared without boundaries thanks to virtual connections. But we miss the sensual and spiritual liveliness that travel and physical companionship bring. My hope is that we maintain the avenues we’ve gained through our virtual strides, but have the luxury of visiting again with a deep appreciation for being in a shared space. (And how I would love to clink glasses with Valeria in Italy!)

Organic eye cream to detoxify and moisturize your eyes

Andy Kelly takes Montemaggio to Jancis Robinson’s website

Earlier this summer, Andy Kelly from Get Your Cork Out decided to write about Fattoria di Montemaggio in his article about sustainability that was his entry in the sustainability heroes writing competition on Jancis Robinson’s website. We are thrilled that he wrote about us and so very happy for him that his entry was published.

Sustainability lies close to Valeria’s heart and to all the staff at Fattoria di Montemaggio. Andy writes about the efforts for being sustainable and respecting nature at Montemaggio ranging from the plastic pouches filled with male butterfly hormones to sexually confuse the female butterflies to not lay their eggs on the vines to the planting of cover crops, composting, the plan to introduce recyclable packaging for the shipment of wine, and much more.

Andy ends the article by giving an overview of Valeria’s future plans for Fattoria di Montemaggio:

“So, what next for Montemaggio? Well, Valeria isn’t resting on her laurels. She’s completely aware that there is more that she can do to boost her sustainability credentials. ‘I would love to install solar panels and have my tractor to run on biofuel. I would also love to become biodynamic and have a 100% sustainable ecosystem where everything works in unison but these things take time and cost a lot of money.”

Thank you, Andy, for making our efforts for sustainability known also in the UK.

Valeria working in the Montemaggio Vineyard

Of course, we asked Andy as well about his thoughts on 2020:

It’s been an unimaginably strange year for many of us in the wine industry. Consumer trends have indicated that wine consumption has actually increased as many of us in lockdown shifted our focus to purchasing wine online. Growth appears to have been steady throughout spring & summer but some of the data has also raised concerns about the sustainability of this growth moving forward, particularly when people begin to feel the pinch economically.

Whilst independent merchants who employ a drop-shipping service have doubtlessly benefitted, the same can’t be said for many of our favourite restaurants and wine bars. In the UK alone, lockdowns have crippled the hospitality industry and the constant flip-flopping combined with the lack of business support from our government will mean that many of our favourite restaurants and wine bars across the UK may never re-open.

The wine & hospitality industry has also had to face up to a number of difficult matters this year and has sadly found itself wanting. The harrowing experiences of Victoria James as described in her memoir, Wine Girl, are a painful reminder of the toxic culture that exists within the restaurant industry. You can’t help but wonder how many other women in wine & hospitality have experienced similar issues but have felt that they’re unable to speak out.

But there can be a positive to this and we should use this and other examples as the turning point within our industry. As a collective, we must encourage everybody to speak out about their experiences. We must listen, learn and ensure that we use their experiences as the catalyst for positive change. We must start a new chapter where we wholly embrace diversity & inclusion so that everybody, no matter their race, gender identity, disability, cultural background and level of knowledge can be the very best professional they can be in order to rally behind our amazing producers and support our outstanding shops, wine bars and restaurants in 2021.

As for Montemaggio, it will have been a tough year with Italy being one of the worst affected in the first wave of Covid. Matters certainly won’t have been helped by a mild case of powdery mildew during harvest and the necessity to lower yields to ensure prices remained stable for the coming vintages. Of course, we also can’t escape the ever-increasing shadow of Brexit and it remains to be seen how this will affect the price of Montemaggio wine and the ease with which it is usually delivered to our doors in the UK.

It’s not all been doom & gloom, however, because despite a lower yield this year, the quality of the wine has been described as excellent which bodes well for 2021.

Montemaggio is also uniquely placed to hit the ground running into 2021 and beyond. I was fortunate to spend some virtual time with Valeria in the summer and it was during our chats that I learned just how switched-on Valeria is as a producer. I had the pleasure of discovering first hand Valeria’s ethos around sustainability as I researched an article which I was able to publish on behalf of Montemaggio on Jancis Robinson’s website.

It is also inescapable that Montemaggio is in a fantastic position to capitalize on what promises to be the “roaring 20’s”. Valeria’s deep understanding of the power of social media, her devotion to providing a uniquely outstanding experience at Montemaggio, and the importance she places on the customer experience when purchasing her wines online mean that Montemaggio is two or three steps ahead of 90% of producers across the globe.

On a personal level, I plan to pay Valeria a visit in 2021 as the world returns to normal. I’m looking forward to enjoying a bottle of Montemaggio Chardonnay and very much hope to toast her on a successful 2021 and beyond.

On a concluding note…

Let us be thankful for the small things in this challenging year, and let us look with hope toward the coming year, 2021.

Written by Katarina Andersson.

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