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About Corinna Banti

What is your name? Corinna Banti

What do you do? Oenologist and business manager of Ultima Pietra

Where do you work? Ultima Pietra, winery in Trequanda

What is your favorite product in the company? In the company we produce wine and oil, and my own favorite is definitely wine.

Corinna Banti

When did you discover that you wanted to become a wine producer?

When I got out of high school I realized that I had no idea what I wanted to do ‘when I grow up’. My parents have an agritourism nestled in the hills of Chianti Classico and I grew up in the countryside, climbing trees, building houses in the woods and…running around the vineyards. As often happens, however, what we have under our noses goes unnoticed and we take it for granted. Literally two days before university registration closed, I woke up and opened the window: stretches of vineyards were there to greet me. Here was the illumination! Producing wine! And I thought: why not? In the end, the drop of red wine my grandfather put in my water glass when I was six years old must have given me inspiration!

What do you like most about this job?

Producing wine is a bit like raising a child, in fact many children! With each harvest, multiple batches of wine are ‘born’ that will then follow their own path, which is unique for each one of them: not directed by us but determined by the characteristics of that specific plot of vineyard, that particular variety and that particular season. The most beautiful part for me is the first taste of a newly bottled wine and the whole journey unfolding in retrospect. To have the knowledge that you have been part of the whole process, from the pruning of each vine to the selection of each bunch, the ever-anxious end of each fermentation, the tastings as the wine evolves in the barrel. Knowing that in that sip there is also a bit of you repays all the effort.

Have you witnessed a change in the sector in recent years? Do you see it as negative or positive?

Everything changes, and the wine sector is no exception. There are countless changes I could talk about, from production techniques to the very idea of wine itself, to trends dictated by the market. However, what I really perceive as a positive change is the inclusion of women in this world. It may seem like a trivial and over-discussed topic, but living it first-hand, it is the one that best lends itself to being described by me. Without hiding behind a finger, we can say that, until a few years ago, women winemakers were viewed with distrust: 

“Cellar work is hard work, can a woman carry the same loads as a man?” 

“Of course, they do the cellar cleaning better”. 

“Women get drunk easily, how can they do all the routine tastings?” 

“She was only hired because she is pretty”.

These are just some of the things I have heard in my few years of career and I am sure I am not telling anything new. What I am happy about is that we are seeing more and more female professionals in the industry, bright and passionate, who are not afraid to get their hands dirty and who do not let the veiled machismo that surrounds the industry get them down. I am proud to make my small contribution to change and will continue to do so.

What kind of experience do you want to offer customers when you produce your wine?

The production of Ultima Pietra wines is the result of a winning bet by the owners Margot and Mark Bowen, American by birth but ‘very Tuscan’ in their passion for this land. Their idea, which also mirrors my own, is to create products that are sincere and respectful of the land, that bring out the energy that, regardless of our will, resides in each bunch of grapes. Our goal is to offer customers at Ultima Pietra a genuine product, not distorted by the interventionism one sees all too often in wineries, environmentally sustainable and of the highest quality. Ultima Pietra is a shining example that a wine produced with a ‘natural’ approach can reach the quality levels of the most prestigious wines.

What is unique about the environment in which you work? What can you find here that you cannot find elsewhere?

Ultima Pietra is a little piece of paradise, arriving from the main road you have no idea what you will find once you enter the gates. We are in a prominent position, 450 meters above sea level, a view that embraces the borders of Tuscany with Monte Amiata to the south and the Apuan Alps to the north, visible on clear days. In an area not too renowned for wine, international varieties (Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon) have found their oasis in the desert, producing exciting and unique wines. The magic of the place permeates every aspect and just by looking at the vines one can sense their health and vitality. With this in mind, my job becomes much simpler: not to spoil in the cellar what nature and the team’s commitment produce in the vineyard. 

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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