In Piedmont, Italy, winemaking is a process to be celebrated, and from vineyard to table, it’s always the perfect time to raise a glass.
Sweet melon balls wrapped in salty prosciutto di parma; melt-in-your-mouth capicola delicately stuffed with soft, homemade mozzarella; fresh Bibb lettuce lightly tossed in fruity extra-virgin olive oil; six assorted cheeses, including the creamiest of Gorgonzolas; and bottomless baskets of crusty Italian bread. It’s all paired with crisp Itynera Prosecco. Dessert is a warm apple crostata with a scoop of vanilla gelato, the sweetness perfectly complemented by a glass of chilled Moscato d’Asti.
Italians call the above an “informal” lunch. At MGM Mondo del Vino winery in Priocca, a municipality in the Province of Cuneo in the Italian region of Piedmont, they pause midday to eat like this almost every day.
Adjacent to the winery’s administrative office building, where lunch is savored and conversations are merry, MGM is keeping up with the production demand that comes with being one of the leading exporters of Italian wines, producing and distributing 25 million bottles to more than 40 countries worldwide. Ricossa Antica Casa, a brand that dates back to the end of the 1800s, has the strongest presence in the United States.
The winery is impressive for its magnitude, modern machinery, cleanliness, green practices and the barrique cellars that smell of oak and sweet fermentation, although its splendor is not in the amount of cases they ship each year. The real beauty is in the pasione that propels the entire process, starting with the growers who tend daily to their vineyards.
Piedmont, which literally means “foot of the mountain,” is a region in Italy that lies at the foot of the stunning Alps. It’s the second-largest region in Italy, and a testament to the country being nicknamed “the garden of Europe.” The conditions here are favorable for cultivating grapes—warm, humid, and with plenty of sunlight to beam on the vines according to their positioning among the rolling hills, the exposure ultimately deciding the tasting notes of the end product. In Piedmont, and surely anywhere else the earth lends itself for winemaking, grapes are a way of life.