It may look like a ‘jolly’ but believe me it was a frantic 72 hours.
A 4 am start and a swift pick up of guests, the 7.25 Manchester to Marco Polo, Venice, drops us in The Veneto at 11 am local time.
An hour on a mini bus and we arrive at Botter, the producer of our Di Maria Prosecco. Their HQ in Fossalta di Piave is the industrial hub of the operation with bottling of not only sparkling wine but still wine sourced from throughout Italy.
A light lunch – if there ever is such a thing in Italy !
Then a full tasting of the sparkling wines and all the wines Botter source, bottle and distribute in Europe, about 30.
From that tasting I sourced two excellent house wines, a crisp Peccorino dry white and a juicy middleweight Primitivo red. As soon as we’ve completed pricing negociations these wines will be heading to Oswestry.
The more expensive whites were good but nothing better than what we do already, but there were 4 reds that blew me away. Especially a Brindisi Reserve Rosso that was simply stunning.
It goes without saying that the sparkling wines were superb, we also tasted a spumanté bianco which is made from the same grapes as Prosecco, but from outside the permitted region, pricing should be competitive.
A tour around the facility, and then off to the hotel. A meal at a local restaurant with Arnaldo Botter, the Chairman, then back to the hotel – early start tomorrow.
Off to Botter’s organic winery, where small production results in high quality but with such demand of this type of wine in Central Europe, precious little of it goes to export. We were lucky with the timing though and were able to view harvesting at first hand. A rarity on these trips.
The picture on the left shows the harvesting of red Refosco grapes.
With a full tasting of the more diverse and esoteric wines that are potentially going to be on sale in the UK, we finished off with another light lunch.
(Since when has 3 courses been a light lunch !)
Another mini bus ride but this time for pleasure – Venice.
I took a few people on the no2 vapporetto, which stops at all stops on the Grande Canal, and ends up at St Marks Square. A short trip around the sights of Venice and then a leisurely couple of ‘spritz’ in the shadow of The Rialto Bridge, where we meet up with the rest of the party and head to Trattoria alla Madonna for an evening of all kinds of Venetian fish, wine and grappa – far too much grappa.
A really good trip and much fun was had by all.
MB SEPTEMBER 2016