‘We cannot embrace our family members’ – Our Italian winemakers on life during lockdown

While we are currently facing lockdown here in the UK, so too are many of our winemakers across the globe.

The current Coronavirus outbreak has affected the way we live, not just here, but all around the world.

Although a lot has changed, we’re still very-much in touch with our wonderful winemakers, perhaps even more so than normal during this difficult and uncertain time.

Leo Bassano is our buyer in Italy, asked his connections in the country to describe how they were coping during the lockdown.

You’ve already heard from our old friend Alessandro Gallici who sent a heartfelt message to you from his Prosecco vineyards, but now we turn to Sofia Barbanera and Anna Rita Massi to find out what life is currently like and how they are coping with all that is going on. 

So pour yourself a glass of your favourite Italian wine, sit back and take a glimpse into lockdown in Italy.  

A change in daily life  

Everyone will agree when we say that our daily life has certainly changed since being in lockdown and it is a very similar story over in Italy too. 

Sofia Barbanera, whose family winery makes our delicious Puglian Corsiero Nero, tells us: “Our habits, our daily life, our family approach – everything is evolving because of this situation.

“We cannot embrace neither our family members and we should live at ‘security distance’, feeling the danger for being too close.” 

Hello from the Broglia family in Gavi

Not only has the lockdown in Italy affected its people, but it has had a huge impact on the environment too.  

Sofia explain: “You have to consider that also a lot of wild animals (like wild boars, wolves, foxes, etc.) are approaching small towns that aren’t crowded anymore.

“I’ve read that in Venice, also the dolphins came back to the city – swimming in the clean canals.”

Using technology to socialise

If you didn’t already know, Italians are very sociable people who often meet up for good food and an aperitif whenever they can. But at a time when whole cities, bars and restaurants are closed down, this has become impossible. 

However, like many of us, technology has become a way for Italians to continue to share experiences with one another.

Sofia said: “This is why a lot of friends are now meeting through video conversations, while they are drinking a ‘home-made’ Spritz, discussing about normal things of the day. As if they are in the same place, maybe in their favourite bar.”

There’s never been a better time to grab a glass of wine, jump on to a video chat with your family or friends and get a sense of normal life for a few hours a week. We’ve been stocking up on our favourites.  

Exploring the world online

Annarita Masi tells us how Italians have been keeping themselves busy during the lockdown

“We tend to stay home the longest part of the day; nevertheless, we are experiencing lots of new things!” said Anna Rita Masi from Italy’s Masi Renzo winery.

“Thanks to the efforts of big organisations and companies, we can enjoy wonderful tv programs, showing museums all over the world. This is absolutely a nice aspect!”

Good food and home cooking  

It’s safe to say a lot of us have discovered a new passion for cooking and baking during the lockdown period, and what goes well with food you ask? Great wine of course!

In Italy life revolves around good food and good drink, so it’s no surprise that our winemakers have been turning to home cooking, making dishes that often take hours to cook while they have time on their hands.

Sofia said: “We like to cook and to eat in general (I think that the population is putting on a lot of weight in these days) experimenting traditional local foods. Some of them need a lot of time to be prepared and now, we are plenty of time. We have time to cook, to spend in the kitchen and we are cooking all kind and sorts of foods: pies, cakes, big donuts (called “ciambelloni”), traditional Tuscan Pici (bolder spaghetti), pizza, etc. In fact, what we are missing from supermarkets are things like eggs, flour, yeast (which are extremely rare at the moment!!) and milk. Everything that is traditionally used for cooking.” 

How are you spending your time during lockdown? If you are intrigued to find out more about what is happening in our wine world, why not take a read of Tony’s diary.  

Drink well, drink wisely, stay safe.

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About Laithwaite's Wine

Laithwaite's began in 1969, when Tony Laithwaite took a job washing bottles in Bordeaux... and fell in love with real wine and the people who make it. When he borrowed a van to share these delicious wines with friends and neighbours at home, things went so well that boutique wineries were soon queuing to take part. Today we're the UK's No.1 home-delivery wine merchant, with over 1,500 wines to choose from... including red, white and rosé, plus Champagne and sparkling, beer and cider.

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