I spent many years jetting off to Italy every chance I got, grabbing the latest Fiat rental and setting out for the next new adventure. A village I’d never been to, grape I’d never heard of, wine I’d never tried, friend I’d never met—any new experience that would bring me closer to understanding Italian wine—I was down.
I ran hills through muddy vineyards, harvested grapes in Barolo and Barbaresco, slid through snow storms, melted in the heat, got lost (both figuratively and literally), found my way, made amazing friends, wrote notes in my journal, took pictures, and then I started writing stories. When people started reading, I wrote more stories, and I kept going back—exploring, documenting, sharing.
The world of Italian wines is a world in and of itself. When you immerse yourself in it and force yourself to understand it, not just look at it from afar, you feel it: energy, creativity, love, loyalty, pride, earth and evolution. You see a land with a soul and wine with a soul. In it I have learned countless lessons, not just about the wines, but also about myself. Where I am today, I owe to my obsession with Italy and its wines.
But why Italy? The short answer is that I don’t really know why.
The “less short” answer is this. My parents gave me an Italian name simply because they liked it: Marcella. I’m not Italian by heritage. I honestly never gave Italy a whole lot of thought until—it seems—after every time I’d finish up some major schooling. When I could stop and rest, Italy came knocking. After graduating high school was the first time I set foot in the country and immediately knew I’d be back. After graduating college was the first time I ever tried Barolo (in fact it was practically the first time I tried any wine!)—and fell in love immediately. After graduate school I landed a few wine jobs to fill in the space between finding a “real” job and started becoming mesmerized by Italian wine. Shortly after my father died in 2005, I decided I needed a “reset” and headed off to Barolo to explore but then … well, I ended up never looking back.
While it’s true that everything I know for sure and feel with all of my heart about wine, is rooted in Italy, more recent years have nudged me in new directions. In fact, I spend most of my time these days behind the greater forces of Wine.com, promoting all wines of the world.
Though my fascinations have expanded to the Pacific Northwest, South America and different parts of France, the heart of my wine world always remains in the hills of La Morra.