Italian wine bar the Vinebar in central Locarno is currently one of the highest bars in the world. They have a 360 degree view over Lake Maggiore, and they’ve recently completed a renovation that has transformed the inside of the space.

I have always had a passion for the land and the people who live and work on it, but what I have never understood is why so many are intimidated by the idea of working with nature. In fact, it is a privilege to be part of the process of growing food and grapes, and wine for that matter, in this region of Italy. I have worked with the Land of Puglia’s viticulture and winemaking industry for over 20 years, and I am proud of what we have accomplished together.

View word-image-3916 Lasorte Cuadra releases its first vintage of Valle d’Itria IGT Silos through a partnership with a local wine cooperative MARTINA FRANCA (Taranto) 18. June 2021 Blending a tiny parcel of local white grapes that most people have never heard of, let alone tasted, is the catalyst and substance of Lasorte Cuadra, a collaborative experimental winemaking venture conceived by husband and wife Roberto Lasorte, CEO of Querciabella in Chianti Classico, and Stephanie Cuadra, founder of Utah-based Terrestoria Wine Imports, made regular trips last year to their family’s farm in Valle d’Itria, a limestone plateau in central Apulia. word-image-3917 Despite the busyness and seriousness of 2020, the couple admits that this is a shared revelation about the role each wants to play in protecting generational wine in this sublime sub-area of Bootheel (400 m.p.h.). The fact that the surnames Lasorte and Cuadra together mean the squares of fate is a very fitting tribute in anticipation of the release of the first Silos Valle d’Itria IGT vintage in all of Italy. Although we were there every step of the way – harvesting the grapes with our winemaker Donato and his family, and personally involving ourselves in key winemaking decisions – seeing the finished wine in the bottle is always something extraordinary, Cuadra says. Part of this disbelief is probably due to the difficulties and obstacles the couple faced before meeting oenologist Angelo Soleti, the technical director of the UPAL Cantina Sociale di Cisternino, the last remaining wine cooperative in the Valle d’Itria. Although Soleti was not the first to be approached by Lasorte and Cuadra with the idea of producing wine in small quantities from local white grape varieties using unconventional techniques, he was the first to listen and even quickly commit to the project, with an open mind and a willingness to experiment with quality-oriented protocols that had rarely, if ever, been applied to Apulian varieties such as Verdeca, Minutolo, Bianco d’Alessano and Maresco. In a region of Italy best known for its high-acid, quintessentially Mediterranean reds, Lasorte Cuadra joins an emerging cohort of artisan producers determined to renew and cultivate interest in the rich wine heritage of this high-altitude part of Puglia, where virtually only white grapes reach optimum ripeness and the wines’ alcohol content barely exceeds 12%. Lasorte, Cuadra and Soleti agreed from the outset that their first joint vintage should be confined to a single tank or silo to avoid the potential risks associated with a more daring approach to winemaking: prolonged contact with the skins, aging on the lees and limited use of sulfites. Silos 2020’s total production is just 6,500 bottles, half of which are destined for export to the U.S. market, where Terrestoria will soon begin pre-deliveries to Utah residents exclusively through DABC’s special ordering system. View word-image-3918

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