welcome to Il Postino’s new monthly column dedicated to the celebration of wine: “Un bicchiere di vino
con il postino”. Being Italian and drinking wine is synonymous with la dolce vita. No Italian table is complete
unless there is a bottle (or more) to be shared amongst family and friends. Wine for Italians is more than
just a beverage. It is a reason to get together with the people we cherish. It acts as an icebreaker between
strangers. It is almost always accompanied by food. In essence, Italian hospitality is often accompanied
with a bottle of wine. How many of our fathers generously provided our Canadian neighbours with bottles
(or gallons) of his new wine in November?
At this time of year, for many of us, the fall season brings back memories of crisp autumn days crushing
grapes with our fathers in the garage. As kids at school, we would ask each other how many cases our
fathers had picked up at Musca, Preston Hardware or Nicastro’s. As I would drive through the neighbourhood,
I knew where the Italians lived by simply noticing the empty grape cases out on the lawns for garbage
pickup. When the wine making was finally done (after crushing every last drop of juice from those grapes)
every Italian father was proud of the wine he had produced with his own hands.
The history of wine is intrinsically linked to the history of Italy and the spread of viticulture by the Greeks
and Romans throughout Europe in ancient times and throughout the world by Italian immigrants in modern
times. It has been part of our culture for thousands of years. Today, every region of Italy produces wine
and Italy is consistently a top producer of wine.
Originally, wine was tied to nutrition in ancient times. Today wine is tied to culture, history, food, business,
marketing, science, tourism, viticulture, etc. The purpose of this column will be to touch on these
diverse themes. In future columns I will touch upon topics as diverse as food and wine matching, regional
wines of Italy, Italian-Canadian wine makers, local wine personalities. I invite all of you to send in suggestions
on topics you would like me to touch upon in future columns. Please contact me at
Domenico Cellucci is a wine consultant and educator and is a graduate of Algonquin College’s Sommelier
Program. He puts on food and wine matching events in the national capital area. He has visited wineries
and vineyards in Italy, France, British Columbia, Ontario and the United States.