Wine & Other Stories

Salvo Foti: The ideal cellar

Written by Piero Pardini

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The cellar is the beating heart of the company where the manual skills of the operators and the knowledge of the winemaker merge. Of course, today, technology is an indispensable element which, however, according to some, has taken poetry away from a work that is lost in the mists of time.

We ask the oenologist Salvo Foti for his opinion on the matter.

© Salvo Foti

What is your opinion on the statement: “Wine is no longer made in the vineyard, but only in the cellar”? A cliché sentence or does it hide a grain of truth?

It should be, not a way of saying, but a rigorous way of doing it. If wine is made with grapes, the first attention, care and commitment should be in the vineyard. But the vineyard is the most difficult, demanding part, with many variables, often uncontrollable. The paradoxical thing is that, often, if we do an analysis of the costs incurred to produce a bottle of wine, the incidence of the cost of grapes is incredibly low, when, in truth, it should be among the highest: if there we reflect, of a bottle of wine, the only thing we put into our body, in the end it is only the wine, the rest is thrown away.

© Salvo Foti

How much has technology in the cellar improved and how depersonalized the work of the winemaker?

If we consider and conceive technology as a tool in our hands managed by our mind, culture and ethics, then the technology in the cellar can only have improved quality and optimized wine production. Otherwise, it is not the man or the winemaker who makes the wine but the technology with his faithful technologists.

© Salvo Foti

According to your experience, which technological tool today is impossible to give up?

More than a technological tool, I would say that you absolutely cannot give up knowledge, experience and awareness in doing so. Having a good technical-scientific cultural level and respect for the environment and mankind, each of us will be able to apply, replace and innovate the technology that best suits their needs. After all, tradition is nothing more than a successful technological innovation in the very long term.

What are the main criticalities of a winery and what is your modus operandi to solve them?

Hygiene must come first among the priorities of a winery. Then, organization, order and being able to count on efficient and adequate tools. The capillary control of all production phases, the choice of motivated and passionate collaborators are fundamental.

© Salvo Foti

In your imagination, how should your ideal cellar be structured? Did you manage to find it in any company?

For me, surely, the ideal winery is a small-medium-sized family reality, in which, truly, the members of the family, fathers and children, are involved and architects in all production phases: that is, capable of “getting their hands dirty “. That they work together, and every day, with their collaborators, inspiring them, guiding them and sharing with all of them the “creation” of a wine, so as to produce, not the wine of man, which is destined to end with it , but the wine of men, of the winemaking civilization that survives the individual. The “Human Wines”, as we define them. There are many of these companies, more than you might think. Many are few known because, since these companies have all their family members involved in working in their vineyards and cellars, they have less time to devote to appearing around the world or just doing marketing.

About the author

Piero Pardini

Founder and editor of "The Wolf Post", Italian based International digital wine platform.
Freelance Journalist.
Wine critic and Sommelier.
He has also written about sports and technology for some specialized magazines.
Co-author of the authorized biography "Gianni Clerici - The writer, the poet the journalist", Le Lettere, Firenze.

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