Andrea Cecchi - Winemaker Series:
Cecchi Wines was founded in 1893 in Tuscany, Italy. After several years of experience as an assistant in the cellars of the most famous commercial vineyards in the area, Luigi Cecchi set up his own business as a wine taster and broker.
From 1919 when his 3 sons were working in the company, Cecchi rapidly established their reputation in almost every region of Italy. In 1948, his son Luigi entered the company, due to his father's premature death, running the company on his own from 1953.
In the 1970s, Cecchi moved to ‘Castellina in Chianti’, an area which has traditionally produced Chianti Classico. In their cellar, equipped with the latest technology, the final part of the winemaking cycle is completed.
The fermentation operations are carried out at their four commercial vineyard / wineries distributed in famous DOC zones in Tuscany and Umbria: Villa Cerna in the Chianti Classico region, Castello di Montauto at San Gimignano, Val delle Rose near Grosseto, and Tenuta Alzatura at Montefalco, in Umbria. Since 2004, following the death of Luigi, his sons Cesare and Andrea, along with their mother Anita, have run and directed the company with enthusiasm and a focused passion.
Andrea Cecchi says - ‘‘Tradition doesn't mean old wines". As Tuscany has modernized, the Cecchi family has adopted both respectful as well as long venturing winemaking reforms.
Over the years I have had the pleasure to visit all the vineyards that they own. Each time I visit; the team who are an extension of the Cecchi family and make you feel so welcome, have included me in several exiting projects over the years. When you go through the wines - you can see that each wine has its own history - Andrea, his brother and the talented team they have working with them, are determined to grow a dynamic and positive future.
The following is some background, influences, thoughts and insights Andrea has gained from his family and during his winemaking career - here are some of his brief comments.
• What first attracted you to the wine industry and as a winemaker?
"I was born in the heart of Tuscany, where I have always smell the perfume of vines, grapes, harvests; it is something under my skin..."
• When and where did you study winemaking?
"I have a degree in agriculture from the University of Agraria in Florence - Italy, graduating in 1988..."
• Which person has influenced you the most as a winemaker and why?
"Giacomo Tachis, as he was the real innovator of viticulture in Italy. *(He joined Antinori’s San Casciano winery in Tuscany in 1961, and helped in the creation of a new wine called - Sassicaia)"
• What is your favourite grape varietal(s) to work with and why?
"Sangiovese with no doubts! It is my personal challenge harvest after harvest..."
• Which grape variety would you most like to work with in the future and why?
"With a wide smile - I would like to craft a wine with Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand..."
• With each new vintage what do you most look forward to?
"There are always a number of small things - but to ensure we show its best expression..."
• To date what has been your most interesting / challenging vintage and why?
"That was back in 1998, I was obviously much younger... - but I learnt a lot from that season..."
• Which person ‘past’ or ‘present’ would you most like to meet and why?
"With a wry smile 'Current' - Sharon Stone to go deep into her knowledge about wine, I hope she is a good wine drinker... from the 'Past' - that would be Einstein, I’ll ask him the theory of relativity..."
• For your next birthday dinner - if you could open and enjoy any bottle of wine in the world ever-made - what would it be and why?
" I would choose a bottle of Chianti Classico 'Riserva di Famiglia' - as I will have my family with me..., so it is merely an emotional choice..."
• If you could make wine anywhere else in the world - where would it be and why?
"That would be in France and New Zealand..."
• What advice would you give a young person starting out as a winemaker?
"Be a person of the world, have an international vision, do sport, as this is a job that requires a lot of energy..."
• If you weren’t a winemaker - what would you like to be and why?
"I would shoe horses and all things related to working with them... Horses are one of my great passions..."
• In the future, what exciting changes can you see, or would like to see for your wines, wine styles, vineyard or winery?
"I would like to have a dynamic company, “alive”, with the possibility to fit and understand the all the change the world have. A young winery, in its soul, maybe difficult to manage but with potentiality to develop: in my mind my wines should be tied to the tradition, made in the respect of the history of my terroir, such as Chianti Classico Riserva, with leads people in the path of life, but at the same time young wines, easy to enjoy every moment of the day..."
Where can you find Cecchi Wines:
Cecchi Wines 'respecting traditions - doesn't mean old wines' are available in New Zealand and around the world from quality wine retailers, restaurants / wine bars and hotels. Or visit the Cecchi website - CLICK HERE.