Soave Next Generation: Fornaro, the courage to dare
It took only six years to Damiano Fornaro to build from zero a new winery that fully represents the qualitative value of Soave wine and the courage of its producers.
At the beginning, as he told us, his knowledge of the business was quite poor. He didn't complete his study at the Agricultural Technical Institute, the future was hard to define yet he had a dream to pursue, no matter how difficult it could seem.
In 2010 the economic crisis was at its peak, so Damiano had one more disadvantage to overcome. He braced himself and accepted a challenge that for many seemed impossible.
“More than one said I was a crazy" Damiano explains "but deep inside I knew I could make it. I wasn't very good at school, only at maths I could excell. That helped me a lot in doing my counts, which is (I soon realised it) fundamental when you have your own business”.
Together with maths, what helped Damiano the most were his professional experience in bars and restaurants and the sommelier course he took. “ Maybe I didn't know how to make wine" Damiano tells "but I was quite sure about how to present it, how to understand customers preferences and I had a clear idea of the characteristics of the wines I was going to make”.
But the real training for Damiano was on the field. Not only he learnt from his vineyards but also from other producers. “I visited dozens of wineries, I spoke to a number of winemakers and agronomists" Damiano points out "and I tried to grab an information,a thought, a suggestion, a productive theory from each one of them”.
Today the Azienda Agricola Fornaro owns 13 hectares, 4 of which are already productive. The production is around 35,000 bottles “not much" Damiano explaines "but enough to be forced to learn how to sell them, how to manage negotiations and somehow find marketing and positioning strategies. I have to admit I've learnt quicker how to produce wine than how to sell it”.
Damiano's idea of Soave wine is clear. “For me it has to express its true and authentic nature. For this reason I decided to concentrate on two types of Soave: one Classico, 100% Garganega, in which I tried to favour its freshness and drinkability, and another Soave Classico, Il Capitel del Tenda, in which I wanted to enhance the characteristics of a single vineyard with a wine that is still authentic and true to its territory, just slightly more complex”.
And how's the future from Damiano Fornaro's point of view?
“To sell Soave wine nowadays" says Damiano "is not the easiest thing in the world but I keep on believing in this designation. I think we should be more careful to the positioning of our products and prices should never go below a certain level because costs, especially for small producers, are huge”.
“I also think" Damiano adds "we should not only worry about growing on international markets but we should go back to care more about local markets. On this regard my goal is to get to a 50% direct sales here at home. At this point I have one more dream, I want to open my restaurant here at Azienda Fornaro, because I believe the potential of this area in terms of wine tourism is enormous and still widely unspoiled”.
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