COVID-19 hasn’t a chance of beating our wine!

Food festival organiser Richard Alsop, of Chesterfield, waxes lyrical about a long-standing family tradition: making enough wine for the next 12 months!

WINEMAKING is a family tradition for me that goes back many generations… For as long as my elders can remember, our family have made wine and olive oil and grown tomatoes for their landowners, in a village called Pago Vieanno in the region of Campania, in southern Italy. So after my family migrated to England, some of these traditions continued, especially as we have now become their own ‘landowners’! I remember as a child that, at every celebration, there would always be an unbranded two-litre green bottle in the centre of every table.

Richard’s uncle,
Michele, at his
wine press.

These bottles would always get replaced as soon as they became empty, which would be quite often. The wine complimented the Italian folk music and Tarantella dancing, so it’s no wonder that the mere smell of the wine brings back wonderful memories for me. I have always said: “If I could bottle up nostalgia and sell it I would be a very wealthy man.” Well, for me, winemaking with my Zio (Italian for uncle), Michele Mercuri, is exactly that…