Its an intimate story…

Earth, sky and water

Its an intimate story…

As the Holiday Season approaches I find myself bringing the year together in my mind, collecting the sweet and the sore to understand how to live better in 2015. Family, work and play all have intertwined in many of the events of 2014 and while there has been some truly wonderful life steps on all sides there has been heart break and sadness too. The Wine Resort and Winery have deepened their roots in so many ways. The Hotel is sublime and its air, food and wine seem to bring healing in so many different ways to the people who visit us there.

The new courtyard at CDSB Tuscany.

The new courtyard at CDSB Tuscany.

It has been a year of renewal and reflection. 10 years of marriage for Manfred and I. Claudia Giuliani has taken over the management of the Hotel and she has brought us to a new level. We launched our new restaurant at the Winery, Maremmana, under our fabulous chef, Jacopo. And we forged new distribution relationships for our organic wines in Canada and the Netherlands.

Manfred and his boys.

Manfred and his boys.

Family and friends mean everything to us and so when we lost our great friend Matt Haley this year in a tragic motorbike accident we were crushed. Manfredo and I loved him too much and we feel the empty space he has left us with. But I feel his presence around us, he was super positive about life, people, food and nature and I hear his encouragement and kindness every day.

Manfred and I are learning to grow our business with dignity, sowing our core values deep into its everyday. We are creating experiences in Tuscany which soothe the soul, make organic wines which we know are clean and have crafted exquisite Italian countryside food at our Ristorante Maremmana which makes our hearts happy. We are also embarking on the next hospitality projects, news coming soon, and all of my creative juices are flowing in anticipation!

Here is Matt with us and our children this Summer in London

Here is Matt with us and our children this Summer in London

Please support us through www.contidisanbonifacio.com and by ordering some wine or olive oil for yourselves or as a gift this festive season, here http://store.nexternal.com/cdsb/storefront.aspx

We want to say thank you for all of your support. We hope to see you in 2015. Have a wonderful December and a peaceful 2015.


Sarah and Manfredo, Vinciguerra, Orlando and Milo

Shaken or stirred?

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Here is my selfie on the eve of one of our wine dinners last week in the US. I love visiting America. I learn a lot  from our friends, partners and clients over there. I feel very fortunate indeed. I managed to get an enormous amount done marketing the wines and the Hotel and with my friend, Matt Haley, we made sure there was time to go speak at a school and be a part of the fantastic community work that he does. 

So, despite it looking as if I’m trying to be 007, as you know I’m more a wine-man than a Martini-man. And as much as it is kind of cool to smarten myself up, I prefer to be in boots, jeans and a t-shirt, around the estate in Tuscany. I’m the kind of guy who has a short attention span and I tend to move from one thing to the next pretty sharply. The team that works for Sarah and I know that too and have come to expect my interventionist approach. I like to be involved. I want to stay current on the thousand things going on here, from how big the hail stones were in yesterdays storm, to when the new bottles of Grappa will be ready. There are architects and City Hall conversations going on about our plans to grow and accountants telling us if we’ve done a decent job. The Hotel and it’s guests are a welcome tonic after the savage wine world we work in. We have quite a few of our guests hosting their weddings with us and attention to detail is everything for them. We’ve hired a brilliant Hotel Manager, Claudia Giuliani, who is taking our hospitality offering here to the next level. We couldn’t be more pleased.

Anyway the long and short of it is that I am back and the Summer is on. We have the best team we have ever had, Elisa as Chef, Ilario, Director of Wine and Claudia running the Hotel business. And well, I’m knee deep in what I love-Tuscany. 

Manfredo

The Stamp of Nobility

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We are surrounded by history, literally these ancestors looking down at us every day to see what we stand for. And what do we stand for and who is Conte Manfredo? IMG_6425

Born into one of the oldest families in Europe, and growing up in Northern Italy, Manfredo ran away to London to finish his education and start a career in Finance. After having spent some 16 years in some of the worlds finest institutions, namely JP Morgan and Moore Capital, he decided to go home and take the Wine and Hospitality business he had started to build with me many years before into a new dimension.

Tireless and passionate, he is the beating heart of the Estate. Demanding excellence of himself and the entire team around him he works 24-7 to ensure all that touch the Conti di San Bonifacio Wines and the experiences around them are assured of his family’s stamp of Nobility. He is exhausting but worth it as any of you who know him understand very well. The Veneto Villa of the Conti di San Bonifacio

Wine and Life

The Family
I love my life, you know. I love it so much I’m prepared to fight each and every day. And I do. Fight I mean, every day against all of those naysayers. As a girl leaving school they said I should be a craft teacher. Right. Then at university they said that girls like me don’t get jobs in the City. Right. Then after 10 years at Goldman they said I’d never survive without them. After 10 more years at Morgan Stanley they said I was mad to leave and give up just to put my family first. They told me that City people never recreate themselves, we are practically unemployable apparently.
But out of all this struggle I see the beautiful things I’ve created. Obviously the children, three amazing brand new boys. Then our wines, grafted from earth,sun and sky, all of the Italy I relish every day. And of course the hilltop Hotel where every piece of linen, every chair, even the forks bought at silver stalls on Portobello Market all chosen by me with so much care, it is almost a religion to me. And the creations don’t stop there. Sharing what we do here in Italy with our friends is a mission. When you open a bottle of our wine we want you to close your eyes and be in this Tuscan paradise. Sip from the glass that clean, gentle air, the freshly ploughed rows between the vines, the light, the gorgeous Italian sun. 
So when someone told me yesterday to down tools and forget this decade or so of absolute devotion I realise nothing changes. I need to buckle down again and prove them wrong. Just as we are extracting fine wines from this unforgiving rocky soil, so for me out of the most difficult moments comes something outstanding.

Look at our Conti di San Bonifacio Winery here  http://www.contidisanbonifacio.com/winery/ and our Wine Resort here http://www.contidisanbonifacio.com/hotel/


Website coming soon… and its finally here!

website

I decided along with Mike Harrison, our faithful and trusted friend and web designer, that we could send a better message via the world wide web than we were currently managing to do.

So I took on the task of creating a portal through which guests and clients, old and new could step into our world. I would love to say it was daunting and exhausting and almost impossible to achieve but it wasnt like that. From having the new photographs taken back in Spring, to writing pages and pages, to juggling the design decisions all the way through, it has been a joy.

It is the culmination of so many elements I have dreamed of since we left our jobs in London. First and foremost it is to truly reflect in images what it is to experience CDSB Wine Resort. Secondly to be able to tell the story of our work, the creation of the garden vineyard and how this very special small Hotel became what it is today. Finally, to be able to share day to day, season on season, the life that we have found here in Italy.

One spends so much of life dreaming of what we can do one day, how we will feel and what it will be like once we get there…it is actually a shock when you find yourself doing exactly what you always wanted to do.

Here in this new website you will see all of the small steps we took to bring the Conti di San Bonifacio Wine Resort and Winery to life. Passion, love, wine, work, madness, earth, taste, food, paradise, simple Italy…its all here.

Welcome to Tuscany!