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?
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.
I get asked all of the time for recommendations from our guests at the Wine Resort. So in order to meet demand every now and again I will write a blog with a special suggestion. Todays is a restaurant in Venice.
We got to this “bacchari”, translated means to celebrate the rites of Bacchus, after buying an obscene amount of fish in the Venetian Fish Market.
A short gondola across the canal and a 10 minute walk got us to Alla Vedova, The Widows House. It really is everything you want from Venice for lunch: small, wood lined with venetian floors and a well-worn feel about it.
The menu spurred us to order almost everything. The white polenta with schia, small grey prawns from the lagoon which the venetian fisherman eat raw, was off the charts. As was the seppie in squid ink. We were washing it down with some Prosecco as when we ordered a jug (beautiful ceramic on a pewter tray) of the house red, the eccentric owner says, “Don’t, its undrinkable.” He went on to get quite animated, continually reminding us to slow down (we were wolfing it down) as the last thing he needed was a reputation for being “fast food”.
Anyway I’m including a snap of my favourite table at which I will most certainly try to organise a very long, and slow, lunch with some favourite people.
I’d love to know what your favourite haunt in Venice was?
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/