My name is Antonio Rizzo. I am a qualified winemaker and viticulturalist. I have been making wine for other people since around 2006. I have made wine in New Zealand, Australia, Italy, France, England, Cornwall, Catalonia, the Azores and Mexico. Some have been small wineries, some have been huge. All of them have produced good quality wines and I have spent my time sharing experience with some of the best winemakers in the world.
The Cunning Anchovy.
There is a joke (not particularly funny mind) in the wine industry that goes… ‘How do you make a small fortune as a winemaker?’ Answer: ‘Start off with a big one!’ Yep, I said it wasn’t funny, but the point is valid.
Those of us wishing to grow our own vines and make our own wine need to have an enormous amount of money to buy land, plant vines and buy winery equipment. Apart from those family wineries and vineyards that have been passed on through generations, winemaking is no longer the premise of farmers but of gentlemen or women of means who have made their fortunes in other areas.
It can be very difficult for a winemaker like myself (and there are many of us) to set up on their own as land is expensive and difficult to come by. So, in the first instance, The Cunning Anchovy is about finding an alternative method to be able to make a wine under my own label with the best quality grapes that I can find.
Small, but unique.
The other point behind The Cunning Anchovy is that most wine you will have access to will be one of millions of bottles produced in a particular winery. There is a huge distance between the winemaker and the consumer. This is the way that large scale wine production works.
However, through meeting and speaking to people whilst I made wine around the world, I have come to the conclusion that many of you who enjoy drinking wine, appreciate knowing the story behind that wine. How does someone know when to pick the grapes? How is the wine made? Why does the wine you’re drinking taste like it does?
So this is the idea. In 2015, I made my first, small batch “own label” wine – an anchovy in a sea of…cod? (I may be over-stretching this metaphor). This blog is designed for people to get a better idea of what goes into a wine and allow me to communicate directly with people who might like to drink my wine. I will be giving you loyal followers an insight into the areas that I will be working in, the indigenous grapes I will be using and the techniques that I will employ in producing what I hope will be excellent and entirely unique wines. Through this space here, I want you to be able to see and understand why I’m making the decisions I make, but, most importantly, I want you to share in the excitement that comes from taking grapes and turning them into wine.