Corrado on Vale
Tenuta La Favola exists because of Valeria. With her I’ve understood how everything we have must be not only preserved but also modified and enriched by our spirit. She’s the one with the big ideas, the one who never tires of dreaming and in doing so constantly creates new perspectives, new paths. But don’t ask her for a business plan, that means nothing to her. Do you want to see her panic? Ask her to calculate three times five times two on the spot. No, Maths is definitely not her thing. What fascinates me most of all about her is her ability to relate to people, to entertain three people at the same time, switching between Italian, German and English. But if she doesn’t take to someone, watch out. If she doesn’t feel the empathy, if she doesn’t see in the other person a respect for our values, even when a good commercial opportunity is on offer, there’s no chance. The response will be no.
Ask her advice about wine? The first thing she’ll tell you is: it’s not her expertise. Even if she doesn’t get the chemical formulae and vines in the technical sense, you can be sure that a wine she likes will be a successful one. What’s it like to live and work with a travelling companion like Valeria? A never-ending sequence of green valleys and storms. The worst thing I can say to her when she tells me she wants to stop, that she doesn’t want to continue in a certain direction, is to accuse her of abandoning this creation, this winery that she wanted so much. I repeat these words and it drives her crazy. This world of joys and concerns, she keeps telling me, is a fundamental but only tiny part of us. Our life together is so many other things: this I must not forget.
Vale on Corrado
All this stress for a photo! What you see is one of the few shots they managed to get of the two of us together. And when it comes to understanding a treatment, or pruning or anything else to do with the vineyard? That’s complicated too!
When Corrado talks to you he assumes you have the same level of knowledge as him – an agronomist and oenologist with an academic background and 40 years’ experience as a research institute director. Sometimes he returns from a daily tour of the vineyard and he’ll say something like “the plants down there are suffering”. When I ask him what they’re suffering from, he looks amazed, he can’t understand how some things aren’t just felt instinctively. It’s taken me time to know what he means. It’s not just wine making culture, study, patience, a sense of responsability for the life he cares for.
In these plants, in these clods of earth, there is the spirit of his ancestors, the love of his family, the stubborn pride of a Sicilian man who is deeply connected to his land, the vision of a more dignified world, an ancient sense of duty and of keeping one’s word. There is also a profound sense of gratitude to those who have gifted him all this. It’s not just a question of knowledge and experience, he is this land, he feels its breath, he senses it in a single glance in the same way a father knows his child. Around him, beside him, behind him, together with him in his world of complex sentiments, in this little corner of paradise, here we are – our daughters and me – our little dog, the donkeys, the horses, a whole female universe that includes the vines and the plants. How can one not love such a tender and strong-willed man?
A PROJECT STARTING 200 YEARS AGO
In the early 1800’s Giuseppe Di Natale, a native from Siracusa as well as the great grandpa of the current owner Corrado Gurrieri, decided to buy the Buonivini (good wines) company. The property was encompassing a hill planted with Nero d’Avola grapes and orchards of olive trees and carob trees. In the midst of this Garden of Eden there was an old mill facility processing both the grapes and the olives. The grapes were pressed in the grape-mill (palmento) and then carried out on carts to a warehouses in Marzamemi, Sicily. Lastly these goods were shipped to Genoa, Malta and Great Britain using our family sea vessels.
IN THE MOST SOUTHERN TIP OF ITALY
TENUTA LA FAVOLA is located in an important area between Pachino and Rosolini, just ten minutes from the most beautiful beaches of southeast Sicily. To the north you can see the plume of smoke rising above Mount Etna, and to the south the blue of the Mediterranean and Ionian seas. The paths between the vines are white with limestone and at night when the moon shines, the land does too.