Two weeks of work and I feel rejuvenated. Not only did I have a wonderful time working at Poliziano, but I met terrific people who were here enjoying Tuscany on their vacations. Some, like me, knew the wine from the States, but others stumbled upon the wine at dinners in local restaurants or just saw the sign and decided to come take a taste. I gave tours, helped prepare lunch and even conducted tastings. The last was probably the most fun for me since I already loved the wine. My immediate boss was Fabio. He’s in charge of the in-house sales, the tastings, and the tastings with food. He does A LOT and my job was basically to make his job easier. Fabio, whose English is surprisingly good for someone who just began speaking it only two years ago, was a delight to work with. He is funny, easy-going and patient. He answered my ten thousand questions about wine, the vineyard and didn’t run screaming from the room every time I asked, “Posso farti una domanda?!”
I met Americans from all over the country and some days it felt a bit strange since I kept meeting people from places I’d lived, Palo Alto where I was born, Vermont where I went to high school and even a woman who worked at the same hospital that I did when I was in law school. After a year of speaking Italian almost exclusively, it was quite fun to catch up with Americans. I especially enjoyed a couple from Maryland who have a restaurant there called “A little bit of Tuscany.” They sell Poliziano in their restaurant and love the wine so it was quite enjoyable to show them around and spend the morning with them. Rose and Kirk tasted some of the wines in the morning, and then decided to wait for lunch to continue so they wouldn’t be as Rose put it, “shitfaced.” Not having heard that expression in a year, I laughed until I cried.
All of the groups that I took around were lovely and quite generous. I kept receiving tips (including a very nice bottle of wine of the vineyard’s reserve Vino Nobile from a group of friends from Washington DC and the Hague who couldn’t believe I hadn’t yet tried one of the wines!). The wine is delicious and may be my new favorite. It’s called Asinone – which is named for the shape of its vineyard and literally means “big donkey.” Unfortunately, one of the Americans re-christened it, and now I can only think of it as the “big ass” wine! I want to say a special hello to Erik, Mary Ann and Mindy, Paul and Tom, and everyone else who suffered through my first two days of learning curve as my brain overflowed with details of how long the vintages spent in french oak, and then in the bottle. Everyone was so supportive of this Americana who was happily learning and working!
Everyone who works at the winery from Federico who was seemingly in all places, to Stefania and Tiziana in the office, were welcoming and helpful. Tiziana drove me home each evening to save me another trip on the bus and Stefania has made it her mission to help me resolve my issues with my documents. As of yesterday, I was given a date to present myself in Siena and may just may receive my long awaited Permesso. I made brownies as a thank you, but it hardly seems adequate!
I’m working again two days this week and maybe a week in July, but as I said to Anna and Federico after my lessons with the kids, even if it was just this small amount of time, I am grateful for the opportunity. It was so nice to feel useful, and the work was truly a pleasure. I’d forgotten how well you sleep after working nine or ten hours a day! I hope there will be many more such days in the future.