The history of the Ca’ Matta winery began many years ago, when in 2007 my grandfather Gianni died. At that point I had to face the decision of taking over the care of the fields and getting on myself the full responsibility for the farm that he had created in a life of work. I was lucky enough to be born in one of the most beautiful and the best suited for viticulture areas in the world, so the decision was not complicated, even if it required a hint of unconsciousness. My passion for the land and vocation for agriculture, together with many years of working on the farm on the side of my grandfather, led me to make a long-term project of what once was a hobby and an afternoon job and to open my own farm. Thinking about it, however, the story of the Ca’ Matta winery began even earlier…
My parents, although both had another full-time job, helped my grandparents with the harvest in their free time. The grape, cherry and olive harvest had always been a time for family and for work sharing, with aunts, uncles and cousins busy together in the fields. Since I was a child I used to go to the fields, playing in between the fruit boxes and following my grandfather like a shadow among the rows of vines. The bond with my grandfather had always been particularly strong. He is the one who passed on the passion for agriculture and the land to me. Driven by this passion and by my initiative, and with the desire to gain enough money to buy my first car, I decided that working with my grandfather could give me the first salaries and I started to spend
with him most of the afternoons after school. In the particularly intense periods of harvesting I would have liked to help more and I remember the fights with my mother to skip school and go to the fields.
In 2006, when I finished high school, I would have liked to start my own farm and work full time on it. The intentions and the dreams were already clear. However, the land in Valpolicella is prohibitively expensive and becoming independent at the age of 19 was practically impossible. So I continued to work at my grandfather’s farm as an employee, keeping on dreaming of a farm on my own. And taking advantage of the opportunity to continue with the studies by enrolling in the faculty of agricultural science and technology in Padua, thus combining the passion for the countryside with a desire for evolution and discovery. My bachelor degree thesis has become an opportunity to experiment in the fields and study the grape production of different types of training systems. That thesis was dedicated to my grandfather. Yes, because in June 2007, in the middle of the cherry harvesting season, my grandfather suddenly passed away. For a year the company was managed by my grandmother. During the following year the family had to manage the bureaucracy of the inheritance process between the four daughters of my grandfather, my mother and my aunts, and make decisions about the future of the farm. It was a time of reflection for me and in the end, in March 2008, I decided to take that opportunity and accept that responsibility. I then expressed my desire to rent the land of my aunts and my mother to finally start working on the dream that I had cultivated since I was a child and that I had temporarily set aside. In this way the farm Lonardi Alessandro was born.
In the following ten years the work had been hard. The grandfather’s farm needed modernization and had to be renewed from a structural point of view, as well as many of the working tools needed to be dusted off and updated. Some vines had to be uprooted, some fields replanted, several stone walls that had been abandoned for many years by the then old grandfather had to be rebuilt. I also bought new land and built my own house, gaining a complete independence, both personal and work related, and making that farm completely mine.
Tired of the continuous chemical interventions necessary in traditional agriculture, which, however, were distorting my mission and made it unpleasant for me to stay in the countryside, I start to experiment. Initially I joined a project for the introduction of “sexual confusion” practices as a method of pest control. From 2016 I started a three year process of conversion to organic farming. Since 2019, therefore, the organic certification of the farm and everything I produce has been officially recognized, after years of constant commitment and trust in the technicians who have helped me, in particular the agronomist Egon Giovannini. During all this time I have tried to personally evolve, for example by following different courses to learn new pruning techniques, and today I continuously try to bring innovation and experimentation to my work, with a constant commitment to technological improvement in the farming practice, while maintaining that link with the tradition and the land taught me by my grandfather. The most obvious experimentation was to start keeping part of the grapes produced at home and try to take them to the next stage, the wine. The new house has become the perfect laboratory to try to express in this way the fruit of that wonderful land, Valpolicella, and the work of the people who live there, especially through the art of wine making. Seeing the results I was reaching with some of the experiments I was carrying out with my friend and current oenologist Edoardo Bertolazzi, my biggest challenge began: I decided that from 2018 all the grapes produced by my farm had to be transformed into wine by me personally. It had been many years since I had the desire to bottle the wine I produced…and so in a moment of simple madness the winery Ca’ Matta was born.
Matta – mad- always on the move, without a precise goal and with a pinch of irrationality, extravagance and unconsciousness, like that irrational and sometimes a little unconscious desire for movement and evolution that I have carried on and that has carried me forward in my life story. Matta – mad- with an eternal desire for research and at the same time for rebellion against the established rules, always evolving, using instinct and ingenuity, like the forces that drive me in the decisions taking process for my farm.
Matta – mad – a difficult test that, if passed in a positive way, leads to a process of maturation, an issue
that, to be handled, needs responsibility and strong intuition, a pinch of rebellion and a lot of wonder.
Like what this winery represents for me.
Matta – mad – like me.