The project of Simone Ambrosini is a microcosm for a greater notion — the big step of a young person to decide to work with the land. In an era when many agricultural regions have been struggling due to younger generations moving to cities, it is endlessly inspiring to see people who come from outside traditional winemaking families take steps to create their own path within farming and winemaking.
People: Simone Ambrosini
Place: Berici Hills, Vicenza, the Veneto, Italy
Varieties: Garganega, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Bianco (Pinot Blanc) and Tai Rosso (a local biotype of Garnacha/Grenache)
Did You Know? In terms of farming methods, Simone explains that he is neither biodynamic nor organic — organics lies at the basis of his work, but he goes one step further:
“For example, we work with willow to tie down the vines while we prune. I am stricter than organics and try to follow old traditions. Using vegetation — like willow for pruning — that’s an example of these old traditions. I go along the rivers to clear abandoned areas to find the willow, so we intervene more actively in the terroir. I don’t use any plastic at all."
“The hard part was to find a way to express my land. I still don’t know it well enough, as we don’t have a long tradition here —by that I mean there’s nobody here that has done the same wine process with the same grape varieties for over 50 years. We have a long history of viticulture, but not really of tradition. So, I was thinking, okay… the Berici Hills… what could it be? I tried to use my instinct at the beginning, and vintage by vintage I became more certain about my first idea — to make all my wines with skin contact — but to be delicate about it.”
This approach means he creates light skin contact wines for his whites and rosé (they are macerated for only around three days). For the reds, the period is somewhere between 10 days and two weeks. He also emphasises that the skin maceration is important for one reason in particular: it helps him to achieve healthier fermentation.
“We talk a lot about days and time, but really we should be talking about how the skin contact works! If the fermentation hasn’t started yet after three days, or if it’s very hot, I try to reduce skin contact. If the temperature is low — if the grapes were cool — I can push a little bit more. For example this year  with the Ramingo cuvée I did seven days — the temperature was low and fermentation started on the third day.”