When Passion for Wine Extends Well Beyond the Velvety Deep Red Juice

When Passion for Wine Extends Well Beyond the Velvety Deep Red Juice


Primitivo di Manduria by the Garofano family: When passion for wine extends well beyond the velvety deep red juice.


Antimo profile picContributing Writer:
Antimo Cimino Founder of VoomaGo

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Wine + Travel 

A series by Antimo Cimino founder of VoomaGo, an experiential travel company focusing on authentic off-the-beaten-path journeys in Italy.


For wine lovers and travel addicts, whether you are a family, a small intimate group, a corporate team, or a couple, wine and travel is a wonderful way to share pleasure for life, a way to discover small winemakers, and to interact with locals in authentic ways and to have unforgettable experiences. Harvesting grapes, cooking with locals, experiencing those “hidden gem and unknown to the world” cellars and wineries to taste old vintages or young wines. Wine and travel is a great opportunity to interact with local cultures and realities in various regions of Italy.

Uncorked Monthly is proud to introduce a new friend and contributing writer to our publication. Antimo Cimino through a series of travel experiences will feature and celebrate the hard work, love, and passion of unknown winemakers across Italy.

Primitivo di Manduria by the Garofano family: When passion for wine extends well beyond the velvety deep red juice.

Garofano family 900x400I am honored to stoplight the Garofano’s, a humble small family in my hometown of Manduria, in Puglia, Italy who has made a very conscious choice to specialize in the production of two types of Primitivo and excel at it.

Meet Bruno Garofano

Bruno in the vinesBruno Garofano, winemaker of Palmento Antico  has been in the wine industry for more than 40 years. It’s not a far stretch for someone who says he grew up in the dirt and dedicated his entire life to winemaking with love, hard work, and dedication. Born in the countryside of Irpinia (region south of Naples) until the age of 22, Bruno helped his father raising cherries, pears, apples and eventually moved to Puglia. It was very endearing during my chat with him to observe his facial expressions and emotions has he recalled eating only ripe fruit directly from the trees, one could not help but notice his love for nature. He pointed out that the goal of his family was auto-sustainable, we followed the natural way of life, everything they bought they did it by bartering with neighbors.

Cultivating passions is the manifesto of the Garofano family

Bruno_wifeAfter being a winemaker and consultant for many Italian wineries Bruno Garofano, the head of the family, decided to create a small boutique winery, Antico Palmento in Manduria, Italy to keep the family together and to stay close to the roots while keeping alive the traditions of making Primitivo like his ancestors did.

A passion that extends well beyond the velvety deep red juice called Primitivo Di Manduria, a love for the territory and the cultivation of Primitivo vines that became the bond between Bruno and his wife when he decided to move to Manduria to marry and raise a family together.

FullSizeRenderGabriele his son, is responsible for the cultivation, the management and PR of the winery, and Mariangela his daughter, is the right hand and biologist following Bruno in the wine production.

When I asked Bruno what made him follow the wine route, he first elaborated about how hard it was for his father to be a farmer, and then he added:

“I will never forget the look of desperation in my fathers’ eyes, when a hail storm destroyed all of our crops. That is when I started to think out side of the box and decided to got to school to become an enologist and started to look at agriculture with a technical and scientific eye.”

I didn’t have to change my path in life, I simply followed nature and the interest in the Primitivo grape eventually connected me with Puglia and then with my wife”. Then I asked, what it is the most gratifying part of your life?

Family is the greatest richness in life

IMG_1737“The most gratifying part of my life is the ability to work connected to the territory, the earth, and to create something that my children can proudly continue to cultivate. La familia e’ la ricchezza piu’ grande nella vita, family is the greatest richness in life” said Bruno. As we continued to enjoy a glass of their Acini Spargoli, a delicious juice that speaks thousand of years of history, pride and tradition, Bruno made a reference to the Italian expression: Ora Come Allora (Now as in the old days) which reflects the reason why they cultivate old grapes from vines that are 60-80 years old and produce wine through century old techniques. “Our wine is a summary of the history, the properties and the stories about the ground (La Terra) that nurtures this amazing plant, the rest is a fine balance of science, feeling, and teachings from our ancestors.

We make wine but above all we produce grapes

FullSizeRender_2I am proud to have succeeded in merging traditions, studies, and passion while being the keeper of what Nature has gifted me with. I am also glad my children, Gabriele and Mariangela, are following my foot steps, and I remind them often to fly not with wings but with roots so to speak”. Bruno is a man of few words but his gestures, presence and emotions are larger than life, he added, “Here is a small but interesting fact about our wine , even if you get drunk on it, you will never wake up with a headache or bad hung over”.

In 1998 the location of Antico Palmento was destined to become a parking garage had not Bruno bought it, saved it and transformed it into the family boutique winery producing only two high quality wines. Everything from the crush of the grapes to the bottling process takes place in this relatively small winery in the heart of Manduria, exactly where my very uncle used to bring his grapes to make is own wine until 1969, the last year of its operation.

Acini Spargoli 2011 La Dolce Vite 2009To date the Garofano family cultivates only about 5 acres of Primitivo grapes from where they produce two amazing red wines, Acini Spargoli, a dry Primitivo di Manduria DOC with a big personality, elegant, layered and complex. The other, La Dolce Vite, is a Primitivo di Manduria DOCG Dolce Naturale, a naturally sweet, very fruity, and aromatic red obtained from grapes left to ripe and dry on the vines past the typical harvest time.

I have had the pleasure to introduce the Garofano family and their two wines to a few of my American clients who love to put wine and food at the center of their travel experience. With permission from Kirk Faulkner from Portland, OR I am sharing his impressions:

My first shared “glimpse” will be of a small, family owned winery in Manduria known as Antico Palmento and our host, Gabriele who shared his passion for wine, for family and his dedication to his craft. We learned a new phrase and for many of us living in the States, a concept long lost in most American business. “Ora come allora” loosely translated means “now as in the old days” and refers not only to a process, but also a perspective on why so many of these small, artisan producers we met do what they do. Many, if not all of them are 2nd, 3rd and even 4th generation craftsman. They learned a way of doing, FROM a way of living. It was, in a word, beautiful!

“Finally, the sum of the parts of our 2+ week experience in Italy was simply beyond everyones expectations” said Kirk.

Antimo is the archetype of a person following a passion, even a calling. That he is so eager to share his world in Italy, and his experiences in many other amazing destinations, with interested travelers is not necessarily unique. What is unique is his dedication to the overall experience. We shared moments, meals and a measure of humanity with so many people he choose to connect us with on this journey. Of course we took hundreds of pictures and saw some marvelous, ancient pieces of our history as humans but that was not the magic for me. “The magic was the connection in those shared moments.” said Antimo.

logo_Antico Palmento







Check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ViniAnticoPalmento/






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