3 QUESTIONS ~ I STOP: Montesecondo. Meet Silvio Messana.

It's March. I'm meeting Silvio in his beautiful house in the Tuscan countryside, on the outskirts of Florence and he invites me for lunch. "Oggi, spaghetti alle cime di rapa", he says. And we have it with TIN Montesecondo, long maceration Trebbiano.

And here I start with my 3 questions.

How did you start? When did you decide that you wanted to become a winemaker?

I grew up in North Africa, in Tunisia and all I can remember of my childhood are the smells of the winecellar, the must, the vinification. However, at that time I had other projects, I wanted to be a musician. I then moved to the US where I started to work in the wine industry selling wines and there I discovered a world that I didn't know. This experience abroad helped me understand what I didn't want. What style of wine I didn't want to make. The wine that you make is who you are. And this is the great difference between who makes wine to please others and who instead makes wine that reflect their personality. At the beginning of my career I made wines that weren't well understood. 

If you were a Montesecondo wine, what wine would you be?

Can I choose two of them? The TIN and the Montesecondo, the purest of my selection. I don't see treating the vines as merely as a production apparatus but as something that I have to work alongside. It's the vine that dictates, not me. Wine is conviviality, life, cheerfulness.

Why did you choose a toad as logo for Montesecondo wines? 

I'm pleased that you recognised that it's a toad and not a frog! I've always liked toads, they are slow animals but powerful. In Japan and South America they are the symbol of fertility and wealth, also it's an animal that rarely is killed - nobody eats a toad! It's a way for me to find the humour in wine and laugh at it, with it.