Terre de la Custodia: beyond the borders of wine
We knew that the Farchioni family had by now been involved in the agricultural sector in various ways for several generations. But, before going to visit them in person, we were not aware of how much they had invested in different agri-food sectors, from extra virgin olive oil, to wine and craft beer. All with an enviable coherence and with the ability to keep everything united and connected, which is also thanks to their excellent hospitality activity. I don’t think I’m mistaken in stating that, in Italy, Farchioni is the only company capable of offering wine tourism that brings together wine (with the beautiful company of Gualdo Cattaneo, Terre de la Custodia), with what can be considered today the largest Italian craft brewery, i Mastri Birrai Umbri (the Umbrian Master Brewers).
In fact, the Farchioni family’s well-known craft brewery is also an extraordinary example of how a visit to a winery should be organised. In just over an hour we were not only able to discover plenty about the company, but also everything there is to know and understand about what it means to produce quality craft beer and the differences between the main types.
A communication with a high “didactic” value that I would like to see become a model for wine companies as well. Of course, some might object by saying that the world of wine is much more varied and complex to communicate. True; but even craft beer has many more nuances than one might imagine. The Mastri Birrai Umbri (Umbrian Master Brewers), however, have managed to make the more complex aspects of this production understandable even to the less experienced (like myself).
In a nutshell, communication is effective when it manages to explain the meanings of every production process in a clear and simple way. In the world of wine, on the other hand, it seems that people love to increase the complexity just to show how much effort is behind the production, with the risk that in the end customers do not understand anything and get bored and so move away from the product.
But the Farchioni family has definitely brought together this communicative approach on the wine front and, therefore, the visit to Terre de la Custodia was of an excellent level of dissemination, managing to make us better understand the commitment of the company, in particular, in the qualification of Sagrantino di Montefalco. It is no coincidence that Daniele Sevoli, a sommelier with excellent communication skills, as well as one of the best we have come across in our many years of journalistic activity in the world of wine, has been put in charge of reception activities. And the influence of Giampaolo Farchioni, the owner of the company, is also strong. He underlined how, for them, hospitality is a key factor in making people understand the very strong and historical bond that exists between his family and agriculture in all its forms. From i Mastri Birrai Umbri I was able to perceive the strong investment of the company in the qualification of the raw materials (a good 1,100 hectares of barley crops between Umbria, Tuscany and Lazio!), but also the commitment on the wine front, with the production philosophy of wanting to follow every segment of the supply chain directly in what Giampaolo defines as “open self-sufficiency”.
And it is precisely this very strong “bond with the earth” that makes the welcome to Terre de la Custodia a culturally enriching where every moment, from the visit to the winery and the vineyard up to the final tasting, represents the opportunity to understand both the company’s production philosophy and what it means to be a producer who aims to achieve excellence.
It is not a simple challenge, neither from a production point of view nor from a communication point of view, but at Terre de la Custodia I could clearly see the value of investment in quality by a company in a very specific way. A great deal of attention to detail, the ability to always place the guest at the centre of the visit and a great ability to always make people understand the link between a vine, the soil, a winemaking technique and the characteristics of a wine. This, in fact, is the most important task of wine communication in general and, above all, when welcoming visitors.
Go to Terre de la Custodia, ask for Daniele and you’ll see what I mean.
photographs by © Nicolò Pitteri