TEAM AND OUR HEROES
Antonio’s life, like that of his colleagues, is the tale of a modern-day hero who every day performs a noble and ancient profession, in a land with an age-old agricultural tradition. Sun, wind, rain…nothing stops Antonio, the great custodian of the Firriato vineyards. Working the land requires hard work, sacrifice and a sweat on the brow, but it seems they cannot wipe the smile from his face. Antonio will be out there taking care of his vineyards in all seasons, under the boiling summer sun or in the storms of winter. No one can divert his attention from that moment of absolute and magical catharsis in which the senses seem to delete everything around him. The fine line between work and private life disappears and vanishes to become what he calls the best job in the world.
The production philosophy adopted by Firriato for the cultivation of its vineyards requires absolute respect for the territory in which it operates. A reasoning that stems from the teachings of Firriato’s heroes, men who know every inch of the territory and always know the exact moment in which work should be performed in the vineyard with full respect for the natural cycle of the seasons. Vincenzo spends most of his time at the Calamoni estate on the island of Favignana, a clear example of viticulture that is respectful of nature and has managed to fit into a fragile and delicate context without being invasive. A face weathered by the sun and hands marked by years of working in the vineyard, the island presents a daily challenge for Vincenzo, a battle that has neither winners nor losers, just a peaceful coexistence made possible thanks to respect for nature and its infinite beauty.
At 32, Maurizio is one of the younger members of Firriato’s team and, together with his peers, he carries an important burden on his shoulders: passing on the knowledge and values of older colleagues. This is indeed a small community of heroes who, with dignity and passion for their work, have made the Firriato name famous in Italy and the rest of the world. Maurizio’s gaze, like that of all young people, is full of the hope of someone who believes in a better future, without forgetting the lessons of the past that have gone before us. Working alongside older people has given him the opportunity to learn the secrets of the noble and ancient profession of a vigneron and his task will now be to preserve it from oblivion and not allow the winds of globalization to affect the ancient history of these lands.
He is a guide, a renowned point of reference for the younger members of staff and a trusted work companion for the older ones. Filippo is a born leader, an attentive teacher who is careful to transfer not just instructions, but and above all thirty years of experience of life alongside the Di Gaetano family, managing the agricultural sector and the team of men regularly occupied in managing the work in the vineyards in all six of the company’s agricultural estates. His composure and placidness are the traits that put him in a class of his own. An approach deriving from the knowledge that order, self-sacrifice and method are the guiding star of his work in Firriato. The same rules apply to each member of the team and are fiercely upheld by Filippo. Method, order, self-sacrifice. Everything has a reason and an objective: giving the best of yourself, sharing a production project that goes beyond the simple confines of the company to become an identity, history, recognition and success. Firriato is his family, one large family.
Mosé carries with his name an adventurous destiny, made of far away lands, voyages and discoveries. He is a man who has crossed the seas to build a different life, away from his homeland of Tunisia. His first port of call in Europe was Switzerland, then Denmark and Germany, gradually travelling south to Italy and then finally to Sicily and Firriato. Wearing his best, dazzling white shirt, with the dark skin of someone who lives and works under the sun, Mosè is the attentive guardian of the grape-drying garden at Borgo Guarini, the area in the grounds of the estate where the mats are laid out to receive the freshly picked Zibibbo grapes. He is the person responsible for its management. Every bunch picked and selected for drying is laid out to receive the natural warmth of the sun’s rays. He is the one who lays them out in such a way that the air can circulate between the grapes. Large quantities of grapes spread out over hundreds of square metres are inspected and turned every day by the able hands of Mosè. Bent over and with his arms outstretched, his hands move fast but he never misses a single grape. His hands are like butterflies passing from flower to flower, exalting a marvellous, rich and powerful nature. Mosè is strong and patient, he never loses his will. He performs his work in silence, in that garden of infinite delights that he will continue to inhabit for more than forty days in a row. In Firriato, it is people like Mosè that make us talk of heroes.
Nino is a problem solver, a joker that can be played safe in the knowledge that he can overcome any obstacle and win the game. The agricultural vehicles workshop is his realm. Nothing escapes him: he is a planner of mechanical efficiency. Oil, elbow grease and a maxim that he repeats like a nursery rhyme: prevention is better than a cure. Reliable, always available, fast. He doesn’t spare himself and every vehicle entrusted in his care is as clean as fresh laundry. He is the master of engine science and the wizard of diesel. Anything that turns, has a caterpillar track, ploughs, cuts or moves on tracks can offer no resistance, they are forced to surrender and perform their daily duty, whatever the weather, in wind, rain or when the sirocco wind blows. Nino knows what to do. Nino and only Nino.
Firriato’s men care for the vines in the fields every day, braving whatever weather conditions nature may hold in store. This work would all be in vain if the heroes of the winery were not around to finish the job. Theirs is the delicate task of transforming the grapes that arrive from the vineyards into Firriato’s award-winning wines. One of these heroes is Giuseppe Campo. After working for the company for 14 years, he now boasts a vast knowledge of the entire winemaking process. When the grapes first enter the winery, it is Giuseppe’s watchful and attentive eye that selects the best bunches from each variety, ensuring they meet Firriato’s high standards. Giuseppe only sends the grapes on their specific winemaking journey, which varies according to the variety, once these strict controls have been met.
He was only 20 years old when he first started working for Firriato. Now, at 39 years of age, Giuseppe follows all of the winemaking processes. A professional story intertwined with an important period in his private life: he was introduced into the Firriato world by his brother-in-law, a hero and life model who, after distinguishing himself for his skill in the winery, was promoted to the administrative offices before passing away prematurely. His story is an example of how commitment is always rewarded in Firriato. Firriato’s excellence has been built up over time thanks to the dedication and passion of many heroes who have transformed Firriato into a well-known and established brand in every corner of the world.
A hero’s greatness cannot be judged by his physical strength alone but by the nobility of his soul and the realization that great objectives can only be achieved by working together as a team. Francesco Genovese is one of the heroes of the winery, following the grapes through the winemaking process. Together with other colleagues he plays a team game based on reciprocal respect, selecting the grapes on their arrival, checking them against the quality parameters. Francesco points out that, “It is important for colleagues working in the winery to have a relationship based on mutual collaboration and trust. We were all born and raised in the area of Trapani and nobody knows the company’s estates and grapes better than we do”.
Spurred on by those who have always believed in the ‘epic’ nature of extreme cultivation, Firriato has put together a team of determined men. Every one of them, with their words of wisdom, have helped make Firriato’s dream of practicing wine-making of excellence in Sicily come true. During the harvest, Giovanni supervises the process of weighing the grapes that have been harvested, ensuring they are graded correctly on their arrival at the winery to ensure they comply with the expected parameters. In Giovanni’s words, “We are conscious of the important task that we have been entrusted with and we work hard every day to obtain the fantastic results that everybody expects from a company like Firriato”.
Giovanni Manzo belongs to the third generation of a Sicilian family of winemakers . His childhood was spent among the vineyards , winery and cellar . His life has always been marked by the rhythms of the parents’ cellar and there is no memory or emotion for him that is not linked to this life experience. At 19 he left Sicily for Piedmont, a land of great red wines and the School of Alba, where he attended the University of Turin for the course of Enology and Viticulture , Faculty of Agriculture . The passion becomes commitment, study, research, profession. Thanks to a scholarship he reached Bordeaux , where he spent a really exciting period of deeper studies and knowledge of wine making, refining skills and palate. Once he came back to Sicily he found in Firriato the winery in which develop a project, at the first steps at that time, centered on Mount Etna and the indigenous grape varieties of this unique and unparalleled region. The climate of trust and cooperation that prevails in Firriato winery, led Giovanni to freely express his own ideas, in an continuous comparison with Joseph Pellegrino, the historical memory of the company together with the Chairman Di Gaetano. Giovanni’s challenge for the future is to transmit the great productive Firriato dream to the new millennium , to understand and to anticipate the trends and the tastes of all wine lovers around the world , always keeping at high reputation the name of a winery that made the enological excellence its greatest pride.
Peppe is from Marsala. The wine runs through his veins, for a family tradition and a genuine passion for life . He shares, to all purposes, with the Chairman Salvatore Di Gaetano, Firriato’s sensorial memory. Thirty years ago , in fact, he took up the challenge and began to work closely with the ownership in order to realize a vision and an oenological reading of Sicily that, after six decades, continues to be relevant, reaching many successes, innovative. Peppe Pellegrino knows very well that nothing can be improvised in the cellar . His work requires great devotion, perseverance and knowledge, time and patience. He is very focused on white wines and sparkling wines, strictly “Classic method”. He is in love with some varieties , first of all the Grillo grape. He is a reserved man, speaking with few words: he prefers to express himself through his wines, that he uses to taste concentrated, surrounded by the silence and the smells of the cellar; between the barrels he stands flawless in his white coat, remembering his more difficult harvest, the first one, with the consciousness that, today, he simply needs to look at his grapes to guess what for vintage will be for Firriato winery.
Tanino combines the value of an experience built up over time with the strength of an incredible passion. Tanino Santangelo is a man made up of agriculture, of days spent in the vineyards, next to his creatures , more and more beautiful and fruitful . The brilliant agronomic studies led Tanino to become, soon, one of the young “emerging scholars ” of the Faculty of Agriculture; what , at the beginning, seemed to be just a mirage, is today his life project , his profession , his being realized in the world . Tanino is today an experienced researcher and a talented wine consultant. Assisting a company like Firriato, taking care of strategic agronomic topics, defining the specific production protocols for each Estate, variety and portion of the vineyard, are all creative and rewarding challenges for Tanino. There is confidence in him, since who loves his work puts all his energies to achieve the desired results. The Terroir and the varieties, but also the experience and the knowledge of humans. This is the secret of an accurate viticulture , managed meter after meter , vine after vine, for every estate. This kind of job is a constant transfer of information to better manage all stages of the production cycle: in each vineyard different conditions coexist, therefore a continuous monitoring and a rapid intervention are needed. Tanino conducts all the jobs in the vineyard, since the implantation until the maturity of the vines and, in the most delicate steps, personally leads the team that puts into practice his instructions. Thanks to his work , Firriato has been able to increase the levels of environmental sustainability , to reach entirely the production of organically certified grapes, to implement a vineyards cost management, to support his viticultural projects thanks to an extraordinarily generous nature .