Loving Young Minds and Unique Wines



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The narrow road to the Santa Clelia winery leads to a
courtyard filled with trees canopying a series of wooden play structures. As we exit our rental car, we see soccer balls, slides and swings, and hear the distant sounds of children playing. We question whether we are in the right
place, or if the Dezzutto’s have omitted to tell us something about the extent of their family.

Sergio Dezzutto exits the cantina and comes to greet us. He
is a larger-than-life true Italian “contadino”. His wind-swept hair and grazed hands reveal both his love of being outside and, devotion to his vines.

After a few minutes of introduction, we head through the
trees and up a hill to make our way to see the vines. The Erbaluce vines are bare as the grapes were harvested a few weeks ago, but Sergio seems to know each and every branch and supporting wooden stake. He recants Santa Clelia’s
history and geography with ease and a sense of benevolence, while citing some of the unique circumstances of this past growing season.

We learn that the grapes themselves are now fermenting after
being harvested, pressed and coarsely filtered – for Sergio’s wine is fresh and crisp and yet at the same time richer and fuller bodied then most whites. When you look through your glass of Essenthia you see a rich golden shade, which is due to the small percentage of fermentation which takes
place in wooden barrels. But the most unique property of this amazing wine comes from the
coarse filtration method used on the Erbaluce grapes which gives it an almost thicker consistency and a more retained flavor.

As we return to the cantina, we meet Gabriela, Sergio’s wife
who is compassionate and cheerful. She explains that unfortunately she cannot stay with us for long as she needs to tend to the children’s lunch. This is when we learn about the school.

During the first Covid lockdown, a lot of families in the nearby village needed childcare during the day, as both parents worked essential jobs. The Dezzutto’s had the space within their winery, and time on their hands so they decided to open a school, and despite all the odds they were up and
running in a surprisingly short time frame. When they first opened there was just 5 students, but word got out among the local community and this number quickly
grew to 20.

When the local schools returned to in-person
education, the parents of Gabriela and Sergio’s students elected to keep them at Santa Clelia. They had fallen in love with the unique setting which provided their children with a once in a lifetime opportunity for developing their young minds.

When continuing our tour of Santa Clelia, Erin and I saw how
the Dezzutto’s have achieved a winning combination of winery and education, and we were privileged to experience both.