Innovation and “Natural Alchemy” in Valpolicella | Verona

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The name Zýmē, from Greek, means “yeast”,  which is an indispensible element in the world of oenology, but it also relates itself to the concept of naturalness, a fundamental value in Celestino Gaspari’s professional and personal life.

After studing crop sciences while he worked in his family’s fields at the age of 20 he met Giuseppe Quintarelli, the man who most influenced his growth as a winemaker and still represents an important point of reference for all the Valpolicella wine world. “My training and my identity became increasingly better-defined, and I developed my own personal vision of the winegrower’s profession: closer to that of an alchemist in continuous search for the philosopher’s stone. It is precisely this striving towards research that inspired me later to establish and grow successfully some dozen wineries in the area”.

In 1999 he felt that he had by then acquired enough experience in the viticulture-winemaking field as to start his own new project by creating Harlequin, a wine made of 15 different types of grapes, the first and most iconic wine for his winery nowadays. Tradition and innovation are the two complementary tracks on which Zýmē’s wine production has been moving forward since then: respect for the historic wines of the Valpolicella area goes hand in hand with innovation and experimentation. Culture, history, tradition, innovation – a glass of wine is so many things, but in Celestino Gaspari’s heart, wine is above all yeast for the mind, and a yeast that grows a project, Zýmē.

To celebrate Harlequin wine’s 20th aniversary it has just been published a book, entitled “Natural Alchemy”, officially presented during the 53rd edition of Vinitaly. It’s a uncommon biography about the protagonist’s personal and enological story and also his  own strong values, old and contemporary at the same time, which are the basis of a long career still on progress, rich of success and new goals always. The dialogue with the young author Filippo Tommasoli (writer and Visual Factory’s project founder) provides a good rhythm and helps the story to get to the younger people.                                                                                                                                                                        


To know more about Celestino and its wine project you can book a tour of the winery, made of an older part (derived from an original stone quarry of the XV century), and a brand new one. The architecture of the winery mirrors the labour and fruits of the winemaker, the technology that he employs and the philosophy he espouses, so that exterior and interior, ethics and aesthetics, nature and culture can collaborate in harmonious synergy.

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© photo:  Alvise Barsanti