You’ll find plenty of good wineries in Tuscany as it is home to some of the world’s most notable wine regions, but finding a Deaf-owned winery is rare. You’ll be able to find this Deaf-owned winery in Siena.
Siena is a city in Italy’s central Tuscany that give you a step back to medieval times as it is distinguished by its medieval brick buildings and you’ll be able to find this winery in Muraglia Farm in the hills of Central Sienese countryside
My Grandpa and I couldn’t be any more fortunate to visit this winery, Fattoria La Muraglia, owned by two Deaf Italian brothers, Giovanni and Paolo Convito, in Siena.
I was in total awe of the 74-acre farm when I arrived at the winery. So huge and covered with vineyards, olive groves, woods, and grain. Not to mention how beautiful it was, especially the buildings.
The owners showed me around the farm and the factory. I was utterly blown away by the fact that they also offer luxury accommodations with their eight apartments. They come with terracotta pavements, wood ceilings, wrought iron beds and solid refined wood furniture. Plus, outdoor swimming pool and mountain bikes are also available to guests.
When we entered the building where they process and store their wine, Giovanni pointed out that they produce two different batches of wines. Both are different based on their length of aging and size of batch. One is smaller than another.
For the small batch of wine, they age it for three years and they will only distribute up to 300 bottles per batch, whereas the bigger batch one is aged for six months and distributes 80,000 bottles per batch.
Clearly, the small batch is more expensive than the big batch. The big batch will be sold and distributed into outside businesses, whereas the small batch will be distributed in the store. However, businesses do order a portion of the small batch to be distributed to them, and customers do come in and purchase these wine.
During the tour, Giovanni tipped me on the importance of going through the four steps to get the best of the wine-tasting experience from any wine. He simply put out four fingers and explained the details of the steps…
The 4 S’s: Swirling, Seeing, Smelling and Sipping
Step one: Swirling
Once you’ve poured your wine into a clear glass, swirl the wine around the glass gently, aiming to coat the sides of the cup. This will release the aromatics of the wine, which will help you to better identify scents.
Step two: Seeing
Hold the glass at a distance with good lighting and examine the color of the wine. Rule of thumb, white wine will be darker if it’s older, while red wine will be lighter if it’s aged for a longer period of time.
Step three: Smelling
Sniff the wine in order to identify the scents from the sediments because it will influence your taste when you take a sip in the final step. Generally, you will be able to identify the following scents:
- White wine: grapefruit, lemon, lime, pineapple, melon, etc.
- Note: cooler places will generally produce more citrusy or tangy-smelling wines, while ripe smells indicate warmer locales. Additionally, some white wines may produce aromas of vanilla or oak.
- Red wine: cherry and strawberry, blackberry, plum, etc.
- Note: wines produced in cooler places will tend toward the red berry side of the spectrum, while warmer locations will lend themselves to a darker, riper scent. Red wines can also have earthier aromas, like coffee, smoke, or chocolate.
Come to think of smelling, I feel bad for my co-founder, John Hathaway II, because he is “nose-deaf,” meaning he cannot smell. He is surely missing out on this part, but at least his taste is much stronger for him. =P
Step four: Sipping
Of course, what else? You gotta take a sip to identify the taste from the smell because what you taste is a combination of the actual flavors of the wine according to the influence of the scent. While sipping on the wine, try to identify the different flavors you’ve smelled, along with characteristics such as sweetness, tanginess, and alcohol content.
Bonus: Tips on Storing Wine
Store your wine bottles horizontally
This will keep the cork moist and swelled and prevent wine from unwanted contact with air or air pockets. Also, the sediment will be deposited on the sides of the bottle, which will allow clear wine to flow when wine is poured.
Rotate the bottles daily
If you do not rotate the bottles, the sediments will settle in one place rather than be accumulated. Just like the solids in a bottle of salad dressing. If you shake the bottle, all of the solids will be mixed up in the dressing. If you store the bottle on its side, all the heavy stuff will fall to that side. Therefore, rotating the bottles on daily basis will mix the sediment into the wine boosting the flavors.
Psst… They do same thing during the entire period of wine-aging before distribution.
The Big Test
At the end of our tour, I had to take this huge test and it was so hard, but…
I passed! It was such a relief when I found out I passed. I had to go through four big steps of wine-tasting. Imagine the chances of me messing up! If I got any of them mistakenly switched, I’ll fail the whole test because it’ll be two wrongs out of four when one of them is switched with another. So nerve-wrecking, isn’t it.
At least I passed with flying colors! 100% right! =P
Fattoria La Muraglia
- Address: Via Uopini, 101, 53035 Monteriggioni SI, Italy
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.fattorialamuraglia.it/index_en.html
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AgriturismoFattoriaLaMuraglia/