Today has been incredible. The winery was absolutely unbelievable. The grounds surrounding it were so beautiful. The interior of the buildings were like straight out of a magazine. The wood in the lobby I instantly thought of my of my dad because he builds custom furniture. It’s 7,000 acres on that specific property. They have grape vines which take up 3,000 acres and then olive trees, plums, forests and fields and the factory. They are called Banfi. All I could think about all day was how exciting it was going to be once back in the US and seeing the Banfi label at the store.
The owner, John, was so wonderful. He probably is among the best speakers I’ve ever heard and he’s 86 years old. He gave us an hour tour – which our professor and the other employees there said that is very rare for his to offer to do the tour. But he was excited to see a group of college students from America. He graduated from Cornell and Yale University. He said the most important thing is integrity, intelligence, drive, perseverance and passion.
John Mariani, CEO, said life is like toilet paper, the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.
He told stories of all of these well known people that he has interactions with, very humbly. Ronald Reagan came and asked him if they could hide missiles there as a safety take off building during his presidency, and John said no. John is on the board of administration for the graduate business college at Harvard University. He explained how they perfected it and how incredibly difficult it is to get in. My eyes literally started watering, since my brother-in-law graduated from that program and how proud it made me of him at that moment.
The machinery in their factory is incredibly advanced. It uses both wood and stainless for the best of both worlds, combining both techniques together. The factory is worth billions of dollars in todays market.
After our tour we headed upstairs to our private dining area where we had our meal. I did not expect so much food and wine. Our professors said that, that meal was probably cost what we probably try to budget for food in a whole month. I honestly don’t even know what we all ate, each course had such rich flavors that went perfectly with each type of wine. We sat there for a couple hours, enjoying multiple bottles of wine. The dessert was definitely my favorite, but my favorite wine was the red paired with the main dish.
We realized that we weren’t quite ready to get back on the buses, so we walked the grounds for awhile. It was so relaxing, being able to just walk through all the vines and sit and look at their view. I was very excited I bought myself a glass from there with their logo on it to always remember my experience. Everything was so green, and the vines went on for hundreds or probably thousands of rows. We joked how we all loved John so much, and wish we could adopt him as our friend for the rest of the trip.
Side Story: After leaving the winery and going to dinner, that was the first night I was so excited to order a Coke. I have had so much wine in the past week, and I’ve absolutely loved it, but the taste of soda, coke specifically, couldn’t have been more refreshing