As told to Alessandra Beltrame.
We were in the foyer of a theater. They pointed Marcello Mastroianni out to me. I wanted to meet him. I walked over to him.
“You are an exceptional man,” I said, “please allow me to introduce myself: my name is Giannola Nonino.”
“Nonino, the grappa?” he asked. “I’m the one who should bow before such talent.”
And he actually bowed, right there, in front of everyone. And he kissed my hand.
Now can you see why I love my job so much? It fills me with stupendous emotion.
Image via Matteo Tilley.
Above: A view from the Abbazia di Rosazzo in Manzano (province of Udine), Friuli.
“The greatest thing my mother taught me,” Giannola Nonino told me when we visited with her last month, “was how to love things that are beautiful — whether a flower in a field or a work of art.”
Today, as the Italian government reforms and begins to face the challenges of the day, we are sending thoughts and wishes to all of Italy’s citizens for a brighter future…
“THE SATURDAY PROFILE: A Dynamo and Her Daughters Turn Leftovers to Gold.”
Frank Bruni, New York Times, December 6, 2003
PERCOTO, Italy — GIANNOLA NONINO was given garbage, and she simply refused to accept it. That is one way to distill her experience and adventure, a liquor-trade tale in which she played Pygmalion to a peasant’s swill.
Before Ms. Nonino administered her makeover, Italian grappa was no more dignified than its ingredients: the grape skins, seeds and stems left over from making wine. That mash was trash, and the crude concoction it produced often tasted that way.
But she saw a potential in grappa and a possible market for it that no one else did. She envisioned what it became: a crystalline nectar that could compete with cognac and do battle with brandy.