Meet Luca Marconi: Valpanera Award Winning Winemaker

When I met Luca Marconi two years ago at the Valpanera Winery in Italy, I knew I was in good company.  From the way he presented each section of the winery on my personal tour, to his descriptions of the bottling process and where and how the wine is stored. I was also given a peek at the vintages. Definitely one way to make this bella feel special.

There is no doubt that Luca is very impassioned with his work as is evidenced in the way he treats the vines like his children; of which he and his wife have two (real life ones), Martino and Sofie.

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Luca’s journey into winemaking was no mistake. His father was one of the most successful enologists in Friuli Venezia Giulia and so Luca was exposed to this particular way of life from an early age. The youngest of three, Luca and his brothers used to compete against each other to see who would cultivate the best wine. As Luca so deftly put it, ‘This passion for wine runs through my blood.’

Two out of the three Marconi brothers now work with wine, while the other’s path led him into the ingenious world of Information Technology.

Luca’s journey with Valpanera began in 2001 and he hasn’t looked back since.

Talking about his experience, he recalls the worst and best harvests he has experienced, the latter coming in 2001 when his Refosco Riserva and Alma both won gold medals at one of the most prestigious wine contests, the ‘Concours Mondial de Bruxelles’ (World Competition in Brussels). It was a great year as Luca fondly remembers: ‘I’ve never received so many phone calls and congratulations like I did from the wine making board here in Friuli.’

But the tables turned in 2004 when the quality of the grapes was bad due to horrible weather conditions and everything had to be thrown away. These are some of the pros and cons of life at a vineyard.

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Luca loves to make his autochthonous wines- simply put, those whose grape varieties originated in Italy. He has become an expert in the zone with regards to Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso and many a Fruili local will admit that the best Refosco dal Aquileia DOC is produced at Valpanera Winery. I can attest to that, as we tasted the 2014 Refosco. It was fantastic.

His current challenge is to make a great white wine with enough longevity to be stored and enjoyed with some great local fish. Mmmm, I’ll gladly wait in line for that!

Reasons to Love Red Wine

They say a glass of red wine is good for you, so two must be better, right? :-)

Many of us enjoy red wine; we’re certainly united on this front. I thought we could look into some of the benefits of red wine – and maybe recruit others to love it too while we’re at it ;-)

Hello Hollywood

Trying to keep up with our ‘forever young’ stars can be costly. Why not take advantage of the antioxidants that red wine is packed with? Flavonoid, resveratrol and tannins help fight against aging by restoring collagen and elastic fibres.

Furthermore they give a boost to sagging skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

Plus what a lot of us didn’t know is by applying red wine topically to the face, you can take advantage of its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, which clear the pores, fight acne and help prevent future breakouts.

Who needs plastic surgery when you have wine? Our very own fountain of youth has been sitting on the wine rack all this time.

The ‘C’ Word

From the common cold to cancer and cholesterol, any medical prognosis that starts with a ‘C’ (and well, those that don’t too: Alzheimer’s, heart attacks, strokes etc.), is either annoying or downright scary. You’ll be happy to know red wine can play a positive role in most of these. For instance, its strong antioxidants can inhibit the accumulation of fat in the arteries, in turn preventing heart attacks and strokes.

Every time friends of mine feel a cold coming, I tell them to drink red wine. Sound peculiar? Well, researchers have proven red wine has certain components that can prevent a cold. Now you know. Just call me Dr. Wine.

According to the American Cancer Society, quercetin, another active antioxidant in red wine, induces natural cell death in colon cancer, for example. Consumption of red wine in moderation can also greatly lower the risk of breast cancer in women.

If you’re worried about losing your memory before its time, red wine contains the super powerful resveratrol- an antioxidant that protects against cell damage and Alzheimer’s disease. It also boosts the mind by providing brain health and memory power.

For those that need to watch their sugar levels, resveratrol also stimulates insulin secretion from the pancreas, reducing the glucose level in the blood to prevent type-2 diabetes in humans and animals.

And if your doctor and wife keep nagging you about your cholesterol, fear not- red wine raises high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol- that’s the good cholesterol.

Please understand I’m not saying it is a cure, just a delicious way to boost your health and prolong your mortality. What more could one ask for?

Keep Calm and Eat

Don’t forget, you can always cook with red wine. There’s nothing like enhancing the flavor of a tender beef bourguignon with some leftover (or not) wine. As you can see, from the kitchen cupboard to your bathroom cabinet the list of uses for red wine is endless.

I know what you’re thinking: if a glass of red wine is good for you, imagine what a whole bottle can do?? NOPE. Sorry to burst your bubble, but moderation is the key even when it comes to this red elixir. So I have to say it: Drink Responsibly.

“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.”
—  Benjamin Franklin


Whether or not he actually uttered those words is neither here nor there. The point is, we agree :-)