Giovanni Battista Mesina
It was late summer, 2017 when I first heard of an exciting new producer emerging from yet another unknown corner of Umbria. Giovanni Battista Mesina, "the shepherd that makes wine", as he is known to the locals, was about to harvest grapes for his first bottled production of wine. Giovanni's wines were borne in his family's old animal stall with nothing more than grapes and intuition.
The Mesina family is not native to Umbria. Rather, they are generations-old Sardinians who have adopted, and have been adopted, by central Umbria. Giovanni was born in Sardegna, close to where Gallura and its famous Vementino is made, but grew up almost entirely in Umbria. The family business has always primarily been raising sheep. To this day, on their hilltop homestead, Giovanni and his family raise over 1000 sheep. They produce milk, cheese and wool as well as pasture-raised meat. If you know anything about shepherds it's that they are sincere, stoic and reserved...when you meet Giovanni you feel his warm soulfulness, which is translated directly into the wines.
The hilltop hamlet of Pianello, just east of Perugia, is where Giovanni's farm is. The vineyard land is tiny, as of 2017 only 3 hectares total. Plans to expand to an eventual 6-8 hectares are in the works for the future. Sangiovese, Ciliegiolo, Montelpulciano, Vernaccia Rossa are the primary red grapes while Vermentino is the white grape of choice thanks to Giovanni's Sardinian heritage and pride that comes with it. 2017 was Giovanni's first bottled production. Before this, the wines were made strictly for home consumption and direct sales to locals.
I am honored to be working with Giovanni and look forward to sharing his wines with the US.