About Me

Gavin Hubble - (BSc & Post Grad. Business Marketing) - I started working in the wine industry over 23 years ago in New Zealand. Working in; wine retail, sales, wine production, label & packaging design, marketing, wine buying, consulting and wine education. I am responsible for the Brand Health of 60+ wine brands distributed here in New Zealand. Wine Brands from New Zealand, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Chile and Argentina. I work closely with the Trade Industry - (Retail Stores & Restaurants) introducing, educating and positioning exciting and unique brands to wine enthusiasts all over the world.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Santa Margherita - Portogruaro, Italy

Friday started with a short taxi drive to the main train station in Verona to work out the timetable to Portogruaro a small town where I would find Santa Margherita. So after 2 trains and more than 2 hours travel, I arrived and was met by Valentina Pisano who works with the international marketing team and Massimiliano Luison the chief winemaker.
Santa Margherita has an international reputation that is the envy of not just wine companies but any quality manufacturer the world-over. After an insightful visit to a few of the nearby vineyards which include over a thousand hectares lying between Fossalta and Portogruaro. Where Max clearly described the philosophy on each varietal, clone choices and the varied canopy management. Along with the geology of the soil types used for growing grapes for their still wines like Pinot Grigio and Glera for Prosecco.
We then made our way to their recently modernised winery and head-office, just a short distance from the centre of town. The Marzotto family have an incredible focus to all projects they set themselves and the winery is perfectly designed and laid out to respect and extract only the best characters in each parcel of fruit that arrives. The property is now totally self-sufficient for power production with the roof capturing solar energy, plus they use vine cuttings and other bio-fuel to generate enough energy for their daily needs and being able to sell electricity back to the local council.
Santa Margherita’s logo is a stylized representation of 'Villa Marzotto' in Portogruaro, built in 1540 during the Italian Renaissance: and today, symbolizes Santa Margherita’s profound roots in this region - and was recently made available to be used by the town council as their offices.
As Max and Valentina gave me a comprehensive guided tour of the winery, production areas and cellars - it became very clear that their vision is to establish themselves as not only one of the most technically sound estates in their vineyards and winery - but also the producer of quality wines that are appreciated by sommeliers, but also approachable and enjoyed by all wine enthusiasts.
They work hard to keep up to date with the diverse markets which they work in and gather feedback on their wines and are always looking to craft wines that reflect there sense of place and to fit in with modern fresh cuisine in these markets.
I went through a tasting with Max - and as he started to describe each wine, he was not shy to express his passion for what he does - and share his extensive knowledge of the region, local traditions, his wines and the recent changes to the Prosecco classifications - (which to be honest will take me a little longer to fully understand all the finer details for the production of the different levels of Prosecco).
We worked through a range of quality Prosecco wines and ended with a series of fruit forward reds including: Merlot, Malbech (yes spelt with an 'h') and Refosco - and each wine had a confident personality and a clear connection to the grape varietal, winemaking techniques used and the terroir from which they were grown.
I was then invited to share a meal in a wonderful classic restaurant in the town centre - and experience a few of the many flavours in the wines matched with local dishes. It was a superb meal and I had a great conversation with Massimo Tonini - Santa Margherita’s export manager. I was so glad that I had this opportunity to visit Santa Margherita and get a ground level understanding of the region and their outstanding range of wines with the help of Max. It was then time to catch another 2 trains the return to my hotel in Verona.

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