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About Giovanni Stella

Giovanni Stella, who everybody calls Gio, helps make the best possible wine from One Belvedere’s grapes. He studied Viticulture and Winemaking when in high school in Siena and later at Florence University. Gio has been working since a very young age in prestigious wineries in various wine-producing regions around the world and in Tuscany.
He actually doesn’t like to speak about himself that much, but he is a “life enthusiast”, totally in love with his homeland, Tuscany, and his craft.
Besides winemaking, his favorite activities are fishing, swimming, and explaining to everyone why Scorpios have superpowers. Guess what his sign is…

“ To the pessimism of reason I respond with the optimism of the will.” Credited to Romain Rolland

One Belvedere winemaker Giovanni Stella with sunglasses in the vineyard.

When did you realize you wanted to work in the winemaking industry?

Is an amusing story.
In Italy, at the age of 13, you must choose the “address” of your high school course; it was hard for me to make a clear decision at the time, for apparent anagraphic reasons.
So, I chose the longest school career I could find viticulture and winemaking.
The high school education lasted six years rather than three or five, but I was not interested in farming or wine at the time; the only thing I was (and still am) in love with was fishing.
I opted to buy new fishing equipment during the summer of third grade because I didn’t have enough money and my parents wouldn’t give me any.
So, I looked for a summer job but was turned down since I was too young.
So, inspired by compassion, my parents asked a friend of theirs if they needed any extra help over the summer. I received two proposals: a mechanical tire shop and a winery.
Both jobs have some advantages and disadvantages:
The mechanical business was close to my house, had air conditioning, but was hard to work in because everything was dirty.
The winery needed help in the vineyards, so it was farther away from home, paid less, and the job was significantly more difficult due to the heat than the other, but the winery has a lake.
I chose to work in the vineyard because of the lake, visualizing myself fishing in it.
The vineyard manager was quite impressed by that young man who was working in the sun instead of relaxing at the beach. That man showed me numerous things, including vine illnesses, pruning techniques, farming equipment, and general winemaking information, which was really fascinating to me.
That incident ignited the spark that ignited my passion for my work today.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The wine’s magic lies in its uniqueness; a wine formed from a desire for it.

It takes a project, the expertise and dedication of many people (yep, there are many many people and many many many drops of sweat behind a glass of wine), a little bit of luck, and once you have all of this, mother nature can be cruel.

This is how it is today, how it was 8000 years ago, and how it will most likely remain until people leave this planet.

In the past, wine was an energy drink and a vehicle of feelings; today, it is a vehicle of feelings, a cultural beverage, a business, and a passion… who knows what tomorrow will bring?

The one thing I know for sure is that everyone has their own motive for getting a glass of wine, and this is what keeps me going.

Have you noticed any changes in the sector in the previous several years? Do you see it as positive or negative?

I am a part of the “new age” of Tuscan wine; I believe I am one of the last generation of winemakers, and certainly, I have seen a significant change in just a few years.
Here are a few examples:
Organic and biodynamic techniques are widely used.
There has been a massive spread of “natural wines” or “wines made with less interventionist methods.”
The definition of quality wine has shifted.
Wineries that were significant, prominent, and authoritative 15 years ago are no longer present or significant today.
Wineries that were prominent, distinguished, and authoritative 15 years ago are now just as important, if not more so!
Many new wineries that have gone from non-existent to being on par with the country’s most important ones in a matter of years.
The style of many wines has altered dramatically, and this is having a significant impact on the market.
Everyone is watching the effects of global warming. Because “new problems” arise frequently, we are all battling to combat and prevent them.
Global warming is making it possible to make superb wine in places that were previously too cold or too high to allow the grapes to ripen, thereby establishing new wine regions.
The new communication techniques are doing a good job of enticing young people to drink wine.
The last few years have brought us numerous changes, both great and negative.

What (technical) aspect of the production process do you love the most?

Every operation is significant and, if thoroughly understood, can become enthralling.

But, if I had to pick two, I would go with fermentation because it is a deep revolution for the material, beginning with a fruit and ending with an active beverage.

It’s almost like magic!

Winter pruning, on the other hand, is undoubtedly the operation for which farmers have more time and which can be done, differently than the others, with cartesian precision.

What kind of experience do you want to provide your customers when they decide on the kind of wine they wish to make?

Knowledge and understanding are what distinguishes appreciating something, whether it’s a cuisine, a wine, or an artwork.

One Belvedere, in my opinion, will have to provide an experience that conveys:

We are in a magnificent and unique location, which we maintain as guardians. We conserve it through green farming, creating little amounts of product from an alive and old ecosystem. We don’t need make-up or gimmicks since what we generate is profoundly connected and completely dependent on it. Just showing what we keep and explaining why we are there, what our aims are and what we are doing to achieve them will be more than enough to enchant anyone!

Because the guests will not all be wine experts, those in charge of welcoming them to One Belvedere must be people who are passionate about their work, because only with passion can we continuously increase our skills and competences, and above all, only by loving something can you make someone else fall in love with you.

The experience must be private and tailored to everyone, who will have a background, knowledge of wine and the surrounding area, and must always feel welcome. To grasp what the customer expects and what the customer is searching for, whoever transmits the experience must acquire deep empathy… otherwise, just record an audio guide.

Empathy causes relationships between people, which can be permanent or transitory, but are not reproducible. The core of the luxury experience is its uniqueness and unrepeatability.

What are the most important lessons you've learned that have helped you get to where you are now?

The most precious things are simple:

  • Have a strong desire to perform well what one is required to do as well as lofty goals.
  • Without this, there is no consistency in the commitment.
  • Meeting the incorrect people.
  • These are the most dangerous, but also the most useful people.
  • Understanding what I didn’t want to be was critical for me.
  • Getting to know the proper individuals.
  • Emotions, I suppose, are our brain’s method of taking notes.

Some wines have been incredibly thrilling for me, and getting to know the individuals whose vision produced that wine has been instructive.

Because, just as it is vital to know which path not to take, it is equally crucial to know which path to follow, and the motivation that comes from someone who has done what you want to accomplish is the only assurance you must keep working hard when the road that is considered correct gets difficult.

What distinguishes your working environment? What can you find here that you can't find anywhere else?

I’m not sure if this is special, but the surroundings of the wine offered to the players is diverse.

Because the wine industry is intertwined with so many activities, we have the option of following numerous paths: production, promotion, scientific research, travel, and meeting diverse populations and languages.

It touches (literally) our senses; it necessitates knowledge of the market, pedology, history, biology, economics, and psychology…

is a world within a world, be completely involved as I believe being in the wine world is like being in a parallel dimension, and I couldn’t be happier.

What advice would you provide to someone thinking about starting a business?

Do it only if you fall in love with something related to wine, regardless of your perceived capacity. If you found it, study it, keep your head and eyes open; if you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.

What do you believe could help the profession (policy/investment/education)?

This is a challenging question.

I don’t know the answer, but one that has helped me grow a lot is the formation of a small group of friends outside of my job setting that share our passion, wine in my case.

I’ve learned far more from them than I could have imagined years ago; finding points of view that differ from your own is always valuable if you want to improve.

Education is undoubtedly crucial, perhaps even more so today than in the past, because the globe is smaller and changing faster than ever before.

What motivates you when the going gets rough (when things become more difficult)?

I am honored to undertake this job; it is an honor for me to assist people in making their own wine or cultivating their own vines; it is something I would never have considered a few years ago.

So, when things go rough, I remember how valuable the gift of responsibility that the various clients gave me is to me.

Thanks for joining us and coming along on this journey of discovery. To learn more about sustainable living and farming, please check back often for new articles.

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  1. Esplorare il mondo del vino attraverso l’esperienza di Gio è davvero interessante. La sua storia personale e il suo impegno nel settore vinicolo ci offrono una prospettiva unica sulle sfide e le opportunità che si presentano. È notevole vedere come il settore stia cambiando nel corso degli anni, con l’adozione di tecniche nuove e innovative. L’evoluzione delle pratiche vinicole e l’adattamento alle sfide, come il cambiamento climatico, ci invitano a riflettere sul futuro del vino e su come la passione e la dedizione come quelle di Gio possano guidare questa evoluzione. 🍷🍇

    1. Ciao Francesco!
      Grazie per il tuo commento! Siamo lieti che ti sia piaciuto il post e che tu abbia trovato interessante la storia di Gio.
      È assolutamente vero che l’industria del vino è in continua evoluzione ed è affascinante vedere come vengono adottate nuove tecniche e pratiche. Siamo sempre alla ricerca di modi per innovare e adattarci alle nuove condizioni climatiche.
      Grazie ancora per il tuo interesse! Assicurati di rimanere aggiornato sui nostri prossimi blog seguendoci sulle nostre piattaforme e iscrivendoti alla newsletter!

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