Casa al Vento


While the mission (or at least the idea) behind Florence Wine Merchants was always DTC (direct to consumer) wine sales, the path has changed over the years. We have meandered from idea to idea only to be thwarted again and again, mostly by logistics, sometimes by laws, sometimes by partners who wanted too much of the pie - etc.

Today, we are very happy to announce that we have launched our first direct to consumer sales. The model has changed a bit, but we think we are poised for success and growth with other wineries who would like to see their wines for sale directly in Europe, North America, Asia and beyond.

Our first effort is with the award winning wines from Borgo Casa al Vento. This is definitely an up and coming winery. Over the past decade they have totally rescued their vineyard, returned to organic production, brought in a highly regarded enologist, and are now winning major awards for their wines as well as finding many new markets - no small feat considering the economic background they have worked in the last few years.

I am really proud to be able to offer wine of such quality, at what we feel are fantastic prices. Please check out the new wine store at:


Fattoria Corzano e Paterno


We just happened to visit Corzano e Paterno today because a family member has rented a villa very close by, and I wanted to stock up on some wine and cheese. They were harvesting and sorting and crushing today - always a busy and exciting time.

This is a great winery and a good place to visit if you are staying near Florence as it is very close - and they have a brand new tasting room/shop to sell their wine, cheese, and olive oil.

Here is Arianna hand sorting grapes today - they use a double hand sort technique - so the grapes are hand picked, then hand sorted by the bunch, and then once de-stemmed sorted again like in the photo:


And here is a selection of their cheese from an event a couple of years ago:


Vendemmia 2009 Casa al Vento


Casa al Vento Harvest, Vendemmia, 2009


Casa al Vento is a winery in Gaiole that I have known for quite some time now. I was there recently as they picked their next to last vineyard of Sangiovese. With the long dry summer they waited as long as possible to let the fruit fully mature before the harvest, reaching optimum sugar levels to ensure proper alcohol content in the finished wine. The grapes were beautifully tended this year and pruned carefully. On this day, several people hand picked, placing the grapes in the plastic containers that are then collected in the tractor and brought up the hill.

The 2009 harvest is the first for Casa al Vento under the direction of award winning winemaker Stefano Chioccioli. Even though Casa al Vento wines are already respected and successful (the 2007 Aria was just awarded Due Bicchieri from Gambero Rosso!), the Giofredda family is striving to make even better wines that are true to their soil and region. In the pictures below you can see some of their new investments at work - a new destemmer attached to a hand sorting table, leading to a two-step crushing system.


The grapes are sorted through at several steps, through pruning during the growing season, during the hand picking, and then the berries once separated from the stems are sorted again by hand to remove any stray stems, leaves, or poor fruit. The grapes are then crushed and the must is sent on to a stainless tank for the first fermentation. There are also photos of pumping over some wine that was harvested earlier and is already fermenting, and a shot of the temperature and humidity controlled barrique room. I can't wait to taste the 2009!


Vendemmia 2008, Fattoria Rignana


Here are photos from the harvest and crush of 2008 at Fattoria Rignana - the grapes looked fantastic! These are not in exact order (but close) - I added a little bit of captioning below. Clicking the icons pops up a bigger picture.


This is the chapel at Rignana and one of the vineyards.


The crusher - destemmer and grapes on the vine.


Hand picking.


Cosimo's tractor full of freshly picked fruit.


On the way to the crush!


The grapes go into the crusher/destemmer, and the fresh juice and skins are pumped right into stainless steel tanks to begin the fermentation. The overpowering smell of the crushed grapes at this point is pretty potent.

Fattoria Rignana


rignana-logo.jpgFattoria Rignana is one of my favorite wineries in the Chianti Classico zone. I have visited this property several times, including during the harvest (vendemmia), and have gotten to know the always accommodating proprietor Cosimo Gericke over the last several years. They make a full range of wines, including a delightfully refreshing rosato, as well as olive oil.