We are in Riomaggiore, on the coast that looks to Portovenere and Palmaria Island. A wonderful place, where time seems stood still.
Crossing the entrance of the vineyards, where there is a yellow sign with the written "Azienda Agricola Possa", we entered in a bucolic landscape. Sounds of the nature are blended with the sound of the waves against the cliff; the mediterranean scrubs aromas are well mixed with the scents of the citrus trees and the incense plant. This place is more than a vineyard is an open air laboratory, where Heydi spends his days creating, studying and experimenting with great passion and tenacity. At the entrance the old traditional working tools (as shears, sickles, etc.), painted in bright colours, are showed to all the visitors.
Among the many projects of Heydi there is one very interesting: to create a route in stages through his vineyards. Every stops is represented by a piece of oak barrel decorated with a poem. From "Meriggiare pallido e assorto" of the poet Eugenio Montale to "San Martino" of the poet Carducci, His desire to combine poetry, art and agriculture is taking shape.
Among the many projects already realized by Heydi there is the "didactic vineyard". A vineyard managed by the students of the primary school of Riomaggiore. A training on the field to let understand right away the fundamental role of the agricolture, without which there is no life.
The day of our visit, Heydi was working to conclude the binding of the vines, while in his cellar he was starting the bottling of his 2020 white wine.
Before the arrival of Heydi, this area was abandoned. He decided to clean the fields and to restore the old vineyards and to plant new ones. In few years he transformed is favourite hobby in his main job. "I risked it, but now I am proud of what I built and what I will do". From few bottles to 20.000 bottles per year and 12 different labels (2 more to arrive). The idea is that of keeping to recover native vineyards and to produce natural wines that tell the territory and who is taking care of it.
"One day Elio Altare (one of the most renowned Italian wine producers, ed), my mentor, told me: - now I'll tell you the secret of making good wine: cleanliness. - That's all? Well yes. Without cleaning in the vineyard and in the cellar the wine cannot achieve great qualitative results".
Heydi's wines received a lot of awards, a further proof that the road taken is the correct one. Just to mention one: his Sciacchetrà 2018 has been awarded as the best Italian Passito Wine by 5 Star Wines (the selection of the best wines by Vinitaly). An important achievement not only for Possa Winery but also for Cinque Terre that, in the last couple of years, is becoming a destination for wine lovers.
"It's important to have an open mind and to not loose the desire to experiment". Indeed this year Heydi will bottle a passito wine made only with moscato and queen grapes, restoring the tradition of his old neighbour. But this wine is not the only news of this year! There are other new projects in the pipeline: an orange wine with a maceration on the skin of 6-8 months; a cru wine and a sparkling rosé. An other tradition that Heydi wanted to restore is the "harvest from the sea". The grapes picked in his lowest vineyards (more close to the sea), are transported in the cellar by boat (and not using the monorail as usual). Just like happened in the past when the cultivated terraces were extended from the top to the bottom of the hills, close to the cliffs.
Not only Riomaggiore. Heydi has restored a vineyard in the Palamaria Island, where now he produces a wine based on Vermentino grape, fresh and fragrant.
Not only wine. Heydi has its own vegetable garden, he produces honey with his bees and he has fresh eggs from his hens.
Of course there are many difficulties in this job (above all if it is conducted in Cinque terre). Dry stone walls collapsed after months of heavy rain (about 25 square meter of dry stone walls to rebuild), hail before the harvest, the danger of the wild boars and the double effort to work manually this vertical and steep land.
Despite of all this difficulties, the commitment and the passion of Heydi haven't changed from the beginning.
For us his world represents a magnificent example of how it is possible to live of wine-growing and agriculture in Cinque Terre. Innovating and experimenting keeping always the traditions of the territory.
To watch the Facebook live with Heydi: https://www.facebook.com/1450021801899772/videos/852069532038456
Photo Credits: Az. Agricola Possa