Bel Vino

By the time I wrote Bel Vino I had been living in Montalcino for around 12 years and had become part of a close-knit community, privy to personal information and daily stories and scandals that circulate around morning cappuccino in the bar in every Tuscan village, and because I am by now contributing to the life of our village, being seen to be contributing to village life and the wellbeing of everyone, a level of trust has been built between myself and village citizens, young and old.

Their Tuscan ways are now my ways and I am discovering day by day more of the history and tradition that has made them who they are, that has shaped them as Montalcinese through the centuries, and they begin to tell me their life stories – and I begin to see behind the people and into the centuries of families, generation after generation, who have lived on the hill.

Bel Vino is not really about wine, although there is Brunello di Montalcino in the story, but it delves deep into the historical families whose ancestors arrived on the hill as far back as the 1100’s – and they are still living on the hill, and it continues the thread of community living and the way a small Tuscan community works together to save ancient monuments and art for future generations. People tell me there are so many lessons we can learn about community, having read Bel Vino.