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Master Winemakers Top 100: Maurizio Maurizi

Maurizio Maurizi, winemaker at Mezzacorona, features as one of our top winemakers in this year’s Master Winemaker 100 guide. He speaks to db about his father’s expertise, dreaming of the beach and seeing his wines all over the world

Maurizio Maurizi represents a new generation of Italian wine innovators. Born in 1983 to a family of winegrowers in the Marche region, he studied Viticulture & Oenology at the University of Florence. Maurizi’s career started at a co-operative winery in his home town of Ascoli Piceno, but then in 2006 he joined the Mezzacorona group as an agronomist’s assistant, involving regular work in Sicily and Trentino. A member of the Italian Sommeliers Association, Maurizi regularly judges in international wine competitions.

Describe your winemaking approach in no more than three words.

Curiosity. Sharing. Joy.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

I really love it when I travel the world and see my wines in the most unthinkable places, knowing that in those bottles is the work of many farmers from a small village in the mountains of Northern Italy. Another moment I like so much is that of the party at the end of the grape harvest, when I see the happy looks of all the farmers and workers.

Which aspect of the job keeps you awake at night?

It happens to me in the middle of the harvest, when I know that rainy days will probably come and we cannot make mistakes in the organisation. It’s fundamental not to get overwhelmed and manage to keep the standard of work high.

What’s your go-to drink at the end of a long day?

Surely a Negroni, with little vermouth and more gin!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Not to be in a hurry. No-one should be in a hurry: the farmer harvesting the grapes, the cellarman carrying out the work, the winemaker ripening the wine and the salesman in selling it. Wine is alive and needs its time.

What was your greatest winemaking mistake?

Once, at dinner, I mixed water and wine.

What’s the most important winemaking lesson you’ve learned so far?

Wine is a craft, not a job. Many people’s hands are involved and everyone makes their contribution. There are no absolute protagonists.

Which figure outside the world of wine inspires you?

My 80-year-old father, who prunes better than a viticulture professor and, without any oenology course, makes wine at home even better than me.

Where would your fantasy vineyard be?

In the tropics, preferably not too far from the beach and nightlife.

If you weren’t a winemaker, what would you be doing and why?

I really like mathematics. I would probably be a researcher, locked in some dark office. But I would miss the countryside too much, so maybe I would be unemployed or just a passionate farmer.

What’s the most memorable food match you’ve had with one of your wines?

As a kid I was working in the countryside with my parents. During lunch break in the field my mother allowed me to drink white wine for the first time, with a peach. It was homemade wine. That was the best pairing of my life: not only food and wine, but also love and gratitude.

What role does sustainability have to play in a Master-winning wine?

I think it should be so obvious by now that we shouldn’t even talk about it. Rather than talking about it a lot, everyone in our world should really engage in practical matters, and not just for advertising or appearance.

Which type of wine do you drink most regularly?

I always drink different wines, even the odd ones, if this term still exists in the world of wine. However, I am particularly fond of Pinot Grigio from Trentino. In my opinion, it is the authentic expression of that territory and the smiles of people living in those valleys.

Your home is on fire: which bottle do you save?

I would really think about saving everything else first. It may not be very romantic, but a bottle of wine is still just a kilo of grapes.


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