Millenia ago, the Etruscan clan of Vibis lived on the top of Monte Vibiano, where my friends, the Count Lorenzo Fasola-Bologna and his wife, MaryAm, live in the Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio now perched above Mercatello, Umbria.
In June, 217 B.C., the lady Vubia saw her two young sons conscripted by passing Roman Legions to fight the powerful Carthaginian general Hannibal. Praying in her vineyard to Bacchus to deliver her boys safely home, she heard devastating news that Hannibal had annihilated 15,000 Romans in the great battle at nearby Lago Trasimeno. After her boys came safely home, she dedicated this vineyard to Bacchus and built a stone wall with a strong gate.
Today, you can sit on 2,200 year old steps and savor Vubia’s view, a serene paradise of vineyards and olive groves extending for thousands of hectares in the purest air imaginable; now the only carbon-neutral producer of organic and hand-picked grapes and olives in the world because of Lorenzo's vision of a "360 Degree Green Revolution". Powered by big solar panels, the farm and cantina is completely solar energy and all the farm equipment is either electric or bio-diesel. Even the workers are given electric bikes to comute to work from home.
riding right into the vineyard in electric jeeps just like MaryAm and Tom beside Vubia's fence and gate. Then Lorenzo will explain exactly how the cherished olives are grown and harvested by hand each year, for no machinery is ever used in the picking of grapes or olives.
Then through the vineyard back down to the Cantina located in the valley below the Castello we go to learn about the organic winemaking in his specially designed solar energy Cantina with double roof which is the same temperature in winter cold and summer heat.
Then we get to try the olive oil poured over freshly toasted brushetta with a little salt and pepper.
Our guests at L'Antica Vetreria love the tour and tasting that we give them each Sunday morning.
The purity of their four superb wines with olive oil is truly divine. Bacchus would be proud of Vubia for protecting his vines and of Lorenzo's passionate dream to continue to protect the purity of his vineyards and groves with his “360 Degree Green Revolution”. Four years ago, Lorenzo and MaryAm created this tour and tasting for the guests of L'Antica Vetreria, but now the Cantina is open every day of the week to the public and the tour and tasting will always be free.
I feel remarkably blessed each week to visit my friends at the Cantina who are so passionate about their work and love sharing it with guests.
I am so passionate about Vubia's vineyard that when Lorenzo invited me to own a vine, I did not hesitate and now I visit my vine number 13, the luckiest number in Italy. When I sit on Vubia's 2,200 year old stone steps I know that I am in paradise.
From early April when the leaves are just a few and the tiny grapes are no larger than a seed through the summer to the vendemmia harvest in early October, I visit my vine each week and shower it with love and care. In 2014 we will enjoy the first vintage of Vigna Lorenzo, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon.