I've been fielding a lot of questions about how Umbria was and what I was there for so I thought I'd try to make a clearer explanation. You can read through below....or just watch this video I made of myself drinking Glenmorangie and eating potato chips!
I was in Umbria for 5 days, including the day I arrived. I drove 900 miles in a flat black Abarth Spider and gave it a real workout through the mountains. I ran 70 miles across Umbria via a 34 mile run to Moretti Omero in Montefalco, a 12 mile fun run with Danilo, and then a 25 mile run with Danilo from Magione to Tiberi. I visited 7 wineries in total. I helped Omero Moretti bottle olive oil. I opened and re-sealed barrels with Danilo and pressed grapes with him. Here's why;
- I wanted to visit those little family wineries one on one and get to know them better. I wanted to better understand why these different individuals are rebelling against mainstream wine making and going their own way. By building more personal relationships it opens up more possibilities for business in the future. I doubt most of the people I visited knew where Maine is, and they still may not, but they definitely remember that there's a really passionate guy from there with a big mustache who showed up in a ridiculous sports car, or ran to them. That's useful for me and getting more cool wine into Maine in the future.
- I wanted to learn more about Umbria, wine making in Umbria, Umbria's history and landscape. Running and driving in a convertible, connecting with that many local people and relying one them, that allows me to get an idea of the land and plants and culture in a much quicker space of time than if I was riding on a bus or a tour.
- There's a lot of marketing value in a trip like that. The photos are useful, it get's attention, and those videos are handy. I also have better stories and first hand knowledge of those wines now and that's really useful to sell more of the wines here and pass on those stories.
- Maybe the biggest reason was that I needed a good opportunity to get myself out of my comfort zone. Portland is super comfortable for me, so dropping myself into Italy without really having a plan or trusting the Italian Hertz to actually give me a car worked pretty well to scare myself a little. It's good to push your limits and force yourself to improvise sometimes.