So what does a winemaker do on his or her day off? Many will catch up with reading, learning a new language to help with foreign sales, or maybe just chilling. And some will fit in some exercise to keep trim. Daily jogs are not unusual – after all a vineyard is a great place to run. Emilio Fidora has taken it a bit further than most and follows a cross-fit programme that ensures he is one of the world’s fittest winemakers. Cross-fit is a high intensity workout that maximises physical effort in a short time. Results can be compared against those achieved by athletes in other countries. And Emilio is pretty good. However, while physical condition is important to him, Emilio’s main passion remains producing outstanding wines.
His family owns the oldest organic estate in the Veneto region. Emilio’s grandfather Guido was ahead of his time when, in 1974, he adopted the principles of organic winemaking at the family’s Civranetta vineyard, shunning the use of chemicals and embracing biodiversity. Civranetta in the Veneto region is steeped in history, having been occupied in the 14th century by Benedictine monks who also made wine. The original layout remains in place today, with the plots on the 160 hectare site protected from pests and adverse weather by trees and ditches, and around one-third of the land unused in order to maintain the vineyard’s natural biodiversity.
Back in the 1970s, some saw Guido’s decision as a backward step. For him it was a big leap forward. He saw it as reversing the growing trend of using chemicals and unnatural methods and instead embracing quality, health, sustainability and, most importantly, environmental responsibility. These days, Emilio is in charge. He has continued to focus on biodiversity. The success of that is evident in the wildlife that populates the vineyard – hares, foxes, pheasants and countless species of bird see it as their home.
The family produces a Prosecco whose fresh and fruity flavour is influenced by the vineyard’s proximity to the sea and its clay soil, and a Pinot Grigio which benefits from the same growing conditions and minerality to produce a dry white with flavours of pear and apple.
We love Fidora’s reds, particularly the Valpolicella which is smooth with flavours of cherry and a hint of pepper that comes from the Corvina grape. A glass or two of this is perfect with pasta dishes and meats. A bigger budget option is the Amarone which is made using the traditional appassimento method that dries out the fruit in order to increase the concentration, with the maturation taking place in oak for around four years before the wine is aged in the bottle.
While making such fine wine ensures Emilio is busy, he continues to keep himself in shape. And, as the three minute video below featuring him and another athlete shows, it’s not for the faint hearted. On the plus side, he has certainly earned his glass of red!
Guerrilla Fitness Promo from Alessandro Ferrato on Vimeo.