Is enology dead? No, not at all…

The title of this post was taken from a song/anthem of the Alba Enology School, which I attended more than ten years ago, together with 19 classmates. Once a year, the mythic 6a B  gathers together for a dinner, remembering our shared past. We find that someone has a few hairs less and a few kids more, but the gathering serves most of all for comparing the viticulture experiences that we have developed over time.

For those who don’t know about the school that I completed in 1998, I will try to explain it in brief: it was one of the six Italian secondary schools specialized in viticulture and enology. Its particularity lies in the fact that one completed the course in six years instead of the canonical five. We put in a lot of hours, including the much-hated afternoon sessions, a full three per week! Unfortunately the student body of this agrarian institute was 99% male, which led to psycho-physical imbalances in the students, some of whom are still feeling the consequences today…

Sixteen-year-old future wine-making experts, post-dinner...

 

We enology students in Alba were recognized for our friendly extroversion, open-mindedness and a little bit of craziness, which made us truly unique. The perfect antagonists for the wine-making experts were the male engineers (since females would have represented a positive to us :) ), who were unfailingly the object of pranks, sometimes ostentatious ones, like the customary truck of manure dumped at the entrance of the enemy school.

At the top of the first photo, you can see those who attended the dinner at the Osteria dell’Arco in Alba, who I will present to you from left to right: Flavio Vico, who works at the Agricola Albese emporium, the undersigned Enrico RivettoRenato Gabutti, agricultural business owner and consultant in Cravanzana, Paolo Repetto, wine merchant of fine wines at ViniferaAlessio Povero, owner of the winery by the same name in Cisterna d’Asti, Andrea Gamba of Vignaioli piemontesiFrancesco Parusso, wine-making expert at Parusso in Monforte, Stefano Biglino, head of north-eastern Italy for VasonLuca Rostagno, wine-making expert at Matteo Correggia in Canale and Paolo Boschis, owner of the wine business by the same name in Dogliani.

Eighteen-year-old future professional wine-making experts at a Barolo tasting

 

Gianluca Testa arrived later, the only wine-making expert/women’s volleyball coach (serie D) in Italy :) . There were some major absences due to snow: Cesare Bussolo, wine-making expert at Roberto Voerzio, Alessandro Dogliotti of CaudrinaGiancarlo Ponte of Carlin de PaoloAlessandro Bovio, wine-making expert at Mascarello Bartolo and agriculturalist Stefano Bona. For obvious reasons of distance, the Sicilian Antonio Caruso of Vinci Vini and the Puglia-adoptee Stefano Vigna, wine consultant, were unable to attend.

lessio Povero, Enrico Rivetto, Cesare Bussolo at nineteen years of age, photographed outside the school

 

Beyond repeating and laughing at the same jokes that we made while still in school, we let slip a glimmer of seriousness, talking about wine and the future of the wine industry in our area. We debated about the role of Dolcetto on the local and international scene and the figure of the broker, but the central theme by far was that of emerging markets like China, Brazil, Russia and Poland.

The curious surprise of the evening was Luca Rostagno of Correggia, who firmly believes in the screw-cap and is experimenting with it on all of his wines. I am very interested to try his results and I won’t fail to let you know what I think, just as soon as I have the time to pay him a visit.

The best thing about these dinners is the frankness with which we express our opinions. We are so familiar with one another and know each other so well that our conversations are sincere and direct, if a little bit colourful in terms of language.

In anticipation of our next dinner, I would like to launch an appeal: does anyone know what happened to Marco Maina? He is the only classmate we have had heard from since that far off July of 1998…