But why did I decide to leave Gaja in 2006?
When I started talking to some dear friends about my intention to leave Gaja, everyone told me that it was a wrong choice, irresponsible. How can I blame them! I already had everything in Gaja. I worked in one of the world’s leading wineries, I had a secure job, and the employers and my colleagues were very much attached to me. With Angelo and Lucia Gaja, I had, and I can say that I still have, a relationship of true friendship and mutual respect. A real friendship.
Well, in 2006, in February, after a few years of “spiritual combat”… I decided to leave Gaja.
I had to try at all costs to ‘go it alone’, to put myself to the test and see what I could achieve (or not achieve). I had to put myself on the line to try to grow again, making use of the many things I had learned in Barbaresco. I had to try to become a winemaker on my own account, interpreting the wine and the vineyard in my own way.
By leaving Gaja I took a very big risk. I left a secure job, in a big company, to go where? The fact is that I knew what I wanted: to buy a company, vineyards and then design my own wines. But in 2006, when I left Piedmont, there was still nothing there.
In February 2006 I returned home to Ferrara, leaving my small house in Barbaresco, and I started, together with Mariagrazia (my wife), to visit wineries, places, hills and territories in Romagna. Romagna, this beautiful land that is still little known today, was the most important and prestigious wine-growing and wine-producing area that was closest to my city of origin, Ferrara, where I lived, and where I could imagine designing my wines.
It took Mariagrazia and I about a year of research to find a winery that we really liked. What we were looking for was an isolated place, with vineyards, but above all with a lot of natural surroundings, woods, a river and little human presence. We found our farm in Brisighella, on the road that leads to Florence through the Apennines.
In November 2007, Mariagrazia and I signed an agreement to purchase the company, the one we would later call Fondo San Giuseppe. On 18 June, 2008 we finally made it our own.
Dates are never a coincidence. On 18 June, 2008 our daughter Biancamaria was also born. During the night we spent in the delivery room, it had rained. Then the sky had been lit up by a marvellous full moon. That night our daughter was born, along with the Fondo San Giuseppe. From that day on, our life changed, as a family, and a new, very, very important professional adventure began. The adventure of Fondo San Giuseppe.