What is the link here between these two? They sound like a pair of Wagnerian characters or a European version of Gilbert and Sullivan. Well one makes wine and the other makes something to store it in, but the link here is that both of them had me working in Tuscany earlier this year.
Ornellaia wanted pictures to show what a great place their winery and vineyards near Bolgheri were to visit and not long after I was on another flight to Pisa again. This time to photograph Marc Almert, the 2016 Gaggenau Sommelier award winner enjoying a visit to Tuscany with two renowned sommeliers, his Gaggenau mentors Annemarie Foidl and Serge Dubs, to hone his skills.
Part Uno: Ornellaia
Back again at Ornellaia after ( is it really..? ). 9 years !
An understated entrance.
But complete with modern technology.
Vineyard post typography tells its own story.
So does the sky !
Sorry for the watermarks but they are meant to discourage unauthorised use !
And the barrel…
If you can interpret it.
Careful camera positioning.
We finally corner winemaker Axel Heinz and drag him off to the cellar.
Well that floor won’t show the stains…
Off to Bolgheri for lunch.
Oh yes, bring your wallet.
Back to work in the tasting room.
Two very amenable guests and a very presentable hostess make a possibly tricky situation quickly shot.
The ideal hostess !
For a memorable tasting.
Meanwhile, down in the workshop…. Actually not much happening.
But they are collecting samples in the barrel room.
Who is this guy !?
Yes its Andy Katz working on his next book !
The Ornellaia Oak at sundown.
But has Andy arrived too late..?
We’ll have to wait and see, good luck with the book Andy.
Part Due : Chase the sommelier.
Well it was a bit like joining a circus; PR, facilitators, two more photographers, three sommeliers. Everyone with their own job to do for Gaggenau, would it work out for me..?
Well yes, it seems, it did. The trick, get in first and get ahead.
I arrived ahead of everyone else and asked to go straight to see Giovanni and his vineyards at the Fattorie del Dolfi.
It was a very useful one to one meeting with the taciturn Giovanni aided by Maggie Wang from Gaggenau who knows him well. A quietly passionate man who knows his land and vines inside out and is no great lover of silly questions I would guess. We spent a lovely hour or two exploring two of his vineyards ready for my proposed early morning tour with Giovanni and Marc, the award winning sommelier, the next day.
Fattorie del Dolfi.
Marc sees the benefits of getting up early.
Before the sun gets over the trees, Marc and Giovanni are deep in conversation.
We are rewarded with the hoped for light.
Back at the Fattorie, Serge and Annemarie are preparing some tests for Marc.
Annemarie with her hands full.
Marc goes through his paces.
Serge, Giovanni and Maggie enjoying a lunch al fresco
Then Giovanni gives everyone a cellar tour,
Giovanni gives me 5 minutes for a few pictures.
Giovanni’s home illustrates his sense of humour !
Day two is a tour of the very special Flor perfumery in Florence.
Marc and the team discuss aromas at Flor, before its time to head for the airport.