Questo racconto è il risultato della collaborazione tra SapereFood e Umbra Institute. Dopo aver visitato alcune importanti aziende della regione, gli studenti hanno scritto delle storie di fantasia sperimentando la tecnica promozionale chiamata “product placement”, ovvero l’inserimento di un marchio all’interno della narrazione.
by Carly Cruff
Inspired by the visit to Tenuta Lunelli, Carapace
I was just five years old when I met Luca. My family had just moved to Bevagna from Cerveteri and we only knew a few people. I am the youngest of three; my brother Marco, my sister Maria, and myself. My father was offered a new opportunity at a winery much larger than the one he worked at in Cerveteri. The whole family, including Nonna and Poppa, packed all of our belongings and headed up to Bevagna. As a five year old, I was so excited for what was to come. At such a young age, Cerveteri was home but I hoped that I could easily make another place my home as well. My siblings were far from pleased. I remember Marco yelling at my parents when they sat down to tell us we would be leaving. He ran up to his bedroom and slammed his door shut. I thought the house was going to collapse.
Bevagna was very different from Cerveteri. When we arrived, it was a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon. The weather was somehow predicting how our experience living here would be. The apartment we first moved into was temporary. My parents planned on buying a plot of land to build their dream house but my father needed to start at his new job first in order to save a bit of money. Once again, my siblings were not happy, but this time about the living situation. They were never very positive about the experience. But, at their ages, leaving school and all of their friends felt like it was the end of the world. Luckily, I was excited to see what was in store for our family. My parents promised us that we would each have our own bedroom in our new house. I could not wait to have a space to call my own where I could play with my dolls and sing in front of the mirror.
After a few weeks of settling in, my father took me to see the winery where he was working. It was incredible, like nothing I had ever seen before in Cerveteri. When we drove up the hill leading to the winery, I saw a huge, geometric shape that looked as if it could touch the sky. The winery was in the shape of a dome, and was massive. My father told me before coming that he knew I would love it, but he wouldn’t reveal why he was so sure. When I first got out of the car, I immediately understood: the winery was in the shape of my favorite animal; a turtle. I have loved turtles ever since I used to visit my cousin’s house where they had three as pets. As a five year old, wine was not intriguing to me, but this amazing structure was so interesting. One of the co-owners of the winery had a son who was the same age as me. This was the first interaction I had with Luca, under the turtle-shaped dome. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had never seen a boy with such blue eyes before. We were inseparable from that day forward.
As we got older, Luca and I began to learn more about each other, as well as the art of winemaking. I can remember a specific memory a few weeks after Luca had turned fifteen. By this time, our house was built just a few miles away from the winery. I had my own bike that I would ride to meet Luca at the bottom of the hill leading up to the winery. This was our usual weekend routine. Unless we were going to church, we were always together at the winery. On this specific weekend, it was drizzling outside but we still met up at the bottom of the hill. Luca took my hand and said, “Do you trust me?” Of course I trusted my best friend, but what was he up to? He had never acted so mysterious before. We ran through the vines and into an area of the red grapevines that I had never seen before. It was tucked far up the hill and almost at the perimeter of the property. In the distance, I saw a red and white-checkered blanket with a picnic basket. I felt my cheeks turn red and I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face. Luca had thought about this and planned it so well. He told me to take a seat and to enjoy the view.
The view was incredible. Italy has so many great viewpoints but this one was something unlike anything I had ever seen. The horizon was breathtaking and the slope of the hill was at just the right point so we could see just about everything beneath us. I heard Luca rummaging through the basket behind me. He took out a plate with assorted cheese and crackers. Of course, there were grapes to go along with it. Then, I saw him pull out a bottle of red wine with the label “Montefalco Rosso” attached. I had never actually tasted the wine before because I was never given the opportunity to. I also was not the type of risky teenager that would do something without my parent’s permission. Luca explained to me that he had been saving this bottle of wine for over a year. He told me that one day he took a bottle from the factory before it was being shipped out to the stores. Since he lived on the winery property, he had studied and learned how long it took for this particular red wine to age. Luca wanted the first time we both had a glass of wine to be special. I was amazed that someone would do something so remarkable for me. My feelings for him grew that day, along with my blood alcohol level.
The Montefalco Rosso that we had the day of the picnic became a staple for us. Over the years, the taste changed. We started to cringe a little bit less at the taste of alcohol. Whenever I saw it in the factory or when my father brought some home, I thought of Luca and how strongly I felt for him. It was not until we were sixteen that he asked me to be his girlfriend. We went to a discoteca together along with a few other friends. Luca was the outgoing, fun one while I kept to myself and was pretty shy. At the dance, he was having so much fun dancing, being himself in front of people. I remember thinking to myself how admirable that quality was. He was able to be confident in front of others and never took anything too seriously. He took me back to the winery after the dance where he had the same picnic set up as before. His father approved of this picnic so it wasn’t so secretive. I found out later that he had asked his father for advice in asking me to be his girlfriend. While sipping our red wine, he told me all of the qualities he liked about me. I sat there blushing and on the verge of tears. He finally muttered the words, “Will you be my girlfriend?” It was arguably one of the best nights of my life.
Months went by and Luca and I became closer than ever. He began working full time at the winery where he had to start on the lower end of jobs. During harvest season, he was working long hours out in the fields. As hard as this job was, he seemed to enjoy it so much. I also got a job at the winery as a greeter. It was a simple job where I would greet guests and occasionally help pour wine if there was a large group for a wine tasting. We spent all of our free time together and I started to fall in love with him. I had always loved him but falling in love felt different. I trusted him more than anyone. He was the first person I wanted to tell about my day. He became my other half and the winery became my second home.
The April before we graduated high school, tragedy struck my family. My Nonna that lived with us for my whole life, passed away. Her health began deteriorating a few months earlier and she was in and out of the hospital. I began spending more time at home and less time at the winery. It was important for me to be there to help my mom in any way possible since I was the last child still at home. Luca tried to help whenever he could but there wasn’t much he could do. Nonna passed away in her sleep in late April. My Poppa was right beside her and we were able to say our goodbyes in the comfort of our own home.
This death was the first hardship that I dealt with. I saw how much my mother was affected by losing her mom and I couldn’t help but think about losing my own mother. I slipped into a dark place and struggled to get out of bed each day. I still was doing everyday things such as going to school and going to the winery to work, but I slowly became more and more distant from everyone in my life. Since Luca was the closest person to me, he was the most affected by my depression. The winery had been my happy place, but I slowly started to dread being there. I wanted to shake the feeling but nothing seemed to help. I snapped at Luca even when he was trying to be helpful. I was hurting the people I loved the most.
To make things worse, my depression started to keep me from things I used to love the most. I began taking medication to ease the pain that I was struggling with. My doctor broke the news that I had to stay away from any alcohol while I was on the medication. This meant that I had to stay away from the winery. It made it harder for me to make any effort in seeing Luca. He spent almost all of his time there and always asked for me to come visit him. I wanted so badly to reconnect with my love, along with a bottle of our Monefalco Rosso. The medication was pushing the pain further inside of me and I wanted to feel like myself again.
Even through these tough times, Luca stayed right by my side. He told me how he loved me, even at my worst. I began to build more and more strength thanks to Luca and decided the medication was not the way for me to heal. He was my shoulder to cry on and the winery became again the place where I could feel comfortable. Luca always did something sweet to make me feel better. He would organize our usual romantic picnics with Montefalco Rosso. He would take me to secret places of the winery that he would find when he was out working in the fields. Luca was the reason I became myself again and was strong enough to get through the grief. I knew that going through something so hard made my love for him grow even more. I did not think that I could love him any more than I already did. Because of the winery, I met my soulmate.