To our beloved fans

16 Sep

Italian front porch

The title of this post is very sarcastic, sorry but I couldn’t help myself! I know that we’re developing a readership and right now many of you are still family and dear friends. However, the other day I got a facebook message from my best friend’s mom, Mrs. Linda Berg, with a few questions that I wanted to address. If there are any fans out there with questions be sure to let us know! If there’s anything you’re curious about Italy, our journey or us specifically our e-mails are and or comment here! It’s great just knowing people and are reading and (dare I say?!) enjoying the blog! With that being said let me get to the aforementioned questions!

Do you miss air conditioning, or are you high enough in the hills that it is comfortable?

Todi sits at 410 meters (1,350 ft) above seas level, a little less than 300 feet higher than the altitude where we are from in Ohio (323 m(1,060 ft)) so it’s not as though the altitude keeps us cool, but we haven’t really been too hot. We got here at the end of August and it had apparently been a very hot and dry summer. Had we been here in the summer I would have missed air conditioning for sure, but we haven’t had it the last two summers so I’m sure I would have lived! Our first couple days were really the only days that felt like summer and then a cooler breeze has fallen on us. The temperature most days is between 70-80 degreed farenhent which is absolutely perfect in my book!

I noticed that you have never mentioned having a problem communicating. We (my best friend, Erika, Linda and her other daughter Ilsa) found that many spoke English; have you found this the same?

No! I guess I should have mentioned this before 🙂 Umbria is not the most touristy region of Italy so everyone doesn’t know English as much as if we were in the big cities of Venice, Naples, Florence or Rome. The biggest city in Umbria is Perugia. With a population of 168,066 people, it has close to half the inhabitants of Florence’s 370,702. When we visit the little touristy town squares the shop owners and employees know the English that they need to get you in their door and purchasing their products, but that’s all. Around town we most likely look like monkey’s playing charades trying to get our point across! The wonderful part of few people speaking English is it has forced us into rapid “learn Italian mode” and we are picking up bits and pieces everyday.

Has your family hosted American workers before, or is this a first for both you and them?

Our family has hosted “helpers” before. For about four years they have invited a variety of people from around the world  United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and of course Italy! to help at the farm. We are their longest stay at three months, as most people stay for usually two weeks to one month. As for us, I have one similar experience doing a alternative spring break in Costa Rica. Two friends and I did a work exchange at an animal sanctuary for about a week and it was a great learning opportunity! It was the first time I meditated on a daily basis, ate a vegan diet, bottle feed a baby leopard whose mother had been poached! It was fabulous, and thus far this trip is holding it’s own also!

Is Mitch finding the wine operations much different from the wineries in northern Ohio?

Oh my yes! Our operation is rather small as I mentioned in the last post, but only a bit smaller than most wineries here. Many here believe in having fewer vines, creating a higher quality wine and selling it at a slighter higher price to compensate for the smaller size operation. That is our mentality here also. A winery with many acres simply couldn’t do things such as hand pick. Many complications such as timeliness, grapes need harvested when they have a very specific sugar and pH reading, finding workers and more importantly if you can find knowledgable people to hand-pick the price of each bottle has just gone from $10 to $50 because you have to pay all those people. I will never again think “Yea, but what’s really the difference in machine harvesting?” Because the answer is everything! We literally chose each and every berry that went into that wine barrel. You just can’t beat that. So the size of the vineyard, the process of harvesting and the quality of wine is just… different. We absolutely loved our wine experience in Northeast Ohio and learned so much. That’s what’s great about wine, every person and every taste for wine is different. Many in Ohio prefer a sweeter, fruitier wine so that is what the industry provides. Here, people are willing to pay more for the wine to be exactly how they want it so that is what is provided. Learning to open your mind about wine is extremely important and seeing how different and unique the preparation process is has been beautiful. But yes, very different.

Thanks so much for the questions, I hope I answered them thoroughly! Keep the questions and comments coming!


One Response to “To our beloved fans”

  1. Mom September 17, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    It is so nice of you to answer our questions. Does being able to speak spanish, help understand Italian?

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